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Fifty Lakes Council approves 2018 Budget

Web posted December 26, 2017
(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Fifty Lakes City Council held on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 as provided by the City Clerk.)

By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

The Fifty Lakes City Council unanimously approved the City’s 2018 budget at the Council’s regular monthly meeting held Tuesday, December 12 at City Hall. Mayor Tim Anick and Council members Jay Weinmann, Jodie Schrupp, Mark Bradley and Linda Steffens attended along with City Clerk and Treasurer Karen Stern and Liquor Store Manager Steve Maeger. The budget approved for next year totaled $437,330.00 excluding the Municipal Liquor Store.

Mayor Anick asked the Council to discuss an employee cost of living increase. He said the current inflation rate is at 2.04 percent as of October and the new rate will be posted on December 13. The Council asked Maeger to report back in January on his recommendations for pay increases for Liquor Store employees.

Discussions followed regarding payment for the 2018 International plow truck from Astleford International Truck costing $172,783.22. Estimated delivery is scheduled for January at which time a check will be written. Discussions will continue if at that time it is necessary to use a CD to cover the cost of the truck.

Liquor Store
Maeger said he had a visit from alcohol and gambling enforcement informing him of an anonymous complaint. Scott Mueller of Alcohol and Gambling Control for the State of Minnesota researched and inspected the bar and recommended that mystery shots be discontinued and that a one-quarter liter bottle of Jim Beam Honey be removed. He also informed Maeger the marrying of bottles is illegal. No administrative action or follow up inspection is required. Council reviewed with Maeger the status of the pull tab boxes and procedures in place to conduct a daily audit of the boxes. The Council reviewed the profit and loss report for the Liquor Store and accepted the resignation of Jen Wise.

Setback Ordinance
The Council passed an ordinance amending a right-of-way setback ordinance. A previous ordinance required a 20-foot setback. The present ordinance requires 35 feet. This has been a hardship for some property owners. The hearing amendment returns the setback to 20 feet.

Citizen Forum
During a Citizen Forum, one speaker asked the Council if it was aware of what the 2018 Social Security increase is going to be and if this increase will be considered when making the decision on COLA increases for employees. Another citizen suggested that Maeger should obtain some education on liquor laws along with new bartenders  receiving server education classes.

Other Business
• Learned of two vacancies on the Planning Commission (Fred Strohmeier and Judy Hansen) and voted to grant Strohmeier’s request for another four-year term on the Commission;

• Approved a resolution accepting a $2,000 donation from Lon Musolf for the Fire and Rescue Department;

• Approved sending up to four Fire and Rescue Department members to an EMS conference in Duluth January 18-21;

• Learned of the resignation of Bob Wallin from a part-time maintenance position;

• Changed the paid sick leave policy from accumulating one day to one-half day per calendar month based on average hours worked in a week;

• Learned that City offices will be closed December 25 and January 1 and

• Went into closed session to discuss personnel issues.

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