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Fifty Lakes City Council Votes to Continue Liquor Store; Councilman Resigns

Web posted December 25, 2018
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

(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 11, 2018 as provided by the City Clerk.)

The Fifty Lakes City Council voted to continue the operation of the municipal liquor store when it met in regular session Tuesday, December 11. Members present included Mayor Tim Anick and Council members Jodie Schrupp, Jay Weinmann, Linda Steffens and Mark Bradley. City Clerk and Treasurer Karen Stern was also present.

The vote to continue to operate the liquor store was four to one with Council member Weinmann voting no. The resolution to continue to operate the business noted that “in any city in which the report of the operations of a municipal liquor store has shown a net loss…in any two of three consecutive years, the city Council shall hold a public hearing on the question of whether the city shall continue to operate municipal liquor” and that “the Council held public hearings on November 13 and December 11, 2018 due to two years of operation that had shown a net loss and…the City has made several changes to cut expenses and increase revenue and...the liquor store is showing an estimated profit of $16,608 profit as of the end of November 2018.”

During the public hearing on the matter, Patrick Conden said he supports the continuation of the municipal liquor store. Wilmar Buchite said he has not changed his mind and still wishes the municipal store should be discontinued. Bob Nuffer said he also wanted the continuation of the municipal business.

Following the hearing, Mayor Anick said he has concerns with continuation of the business with two managers and expenses that may not allow for profitability. Council member Weinmann said he has concerns with maintaining a profit for the business and he feels the City should be looking for another entity to run the business. Council member Steffens said it is an important entity of the City and it is important to be able to have more control over the business and to ensure that the relief association is guaranteed the  opportunity to control the gambling within the facility. Council member Schrupp said the bar has paid for itself in the past with no money used from the City’s general fund and that the business should be allowed to run as long as the municipal has the funds to operate the business.

During the unfinished business portion of the meeting Weinmann addressed the Council and presented his resignation from the Council effective January 1, 2019. The Council voted to accept the resignation with council member Schrupp voting no.

Another Council Vacancy
Mayor Anick requested Council action for a motion to recognize the vacancy on the Council from the results of the elections. Council member Steffens was elected as Mayor. The Council voted to advertise the vacancy and plans to fill it at the January meeting.

Budget Adopted
The Council unanimously adopted the 2019 budget that call for total spending of $440,000 including $193,180 in general spending, $173,870 for roads and bridges, $65,450 for fire and rescue and $7,500 for parks.

Other Business
In other business, the Council:
• Donated $2,500 to the Fifty Lakes Fire Relief Association for its pension;
• Defeated a motion to hold a January 1 special meeting to conduct a physical inventory of the liquor store and
• Directed Clerk Stern to expense $1,455 in additional audit expenses as follows: 35 percent to the general fund and 65 percent to the liquor fund.

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