Patio seating has high price
Minnesotans can't get enough of outdoor eating during the summer months--but high fees may deter owners from putting more tables on their patios and sidewalks as they don't believe the seats generate enough additional business to pay for the fee. The Pioneer Press reports that owners are being charged thousands of dollars in sewer fees, based on their seating capacity. Tim McKee, for example, says he was assessed $25,000 for the bar, patio, and banquet seating at Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque in Stillwater. The Metropolitan Council, the group which maintains the regional sewer system, has proposed slicing the fee in half for outdoor space and will consider the matter Sept. 9. I'm hopeful that the Council will do what it can to help recession-strapped restaurants and those who love to dine al fresco.