The Board of Selectmen approved the renewal of 18 liquor licenses Wednesday night, despite complaints from Vice Chairman David Van Dam that some of the restaurants and bars may owe the town money.
Town Administrator Thomas Younger said state law requires only that the license holder be current on taxes and water bills by the end of 2011.
He said as of two weeks ago two license holders were behind in paying their water bills, but he did not disclose the identities of the license holders.
Van Dam said he would like to have the names of the license holders when the board meets again in two weeks.
"It is disappointing for me," Van Dam said. "Not having this information is bothersome."
He said businesses have two weeks to pay their bills or their identities will be disclosed at the next selectmen's meeting.
"So you are going to out these businesses in a public meeting? I don't see the point," Selectman Jill Sullivan said. "I thought we were trying to be more business friendly."
Selectman Barry Greenfield noted that the town benefitted financially from the late payments to the town. The fee for being late is 14 percent, which generated about $150,000 in additional revenues to the town, he said.
Van Dam said he did not want to sign any renewal of a liquor license for a company that is behind in its payments to the town. But he agreed to renew the licenses because "I don't want to hurt those who have been keeping up with their payments."
The issue was moot because renewal only requires the signature of three of the five selectmen. No other selectmen agreed with Van Dam.
Younger said he will not allow a business to be behind in payments to the town for more than 15 to 18 months.