New law boosts liquor sales
Osakis Liquor Store had a very profitable month in July, according to manager Julie Didier's reported to the Monday, Aug. 7 City Council meeting, partly due to the Sunday hours which began on July 2.
"The Sunday sales are paying for the store to be open," Didier said.
The Liquor Store revenue and expenditure sheet for July, after adjustments for the inventory increase and the purchase of a new compressor, showed a profit of $31,320 for the month.
Mayor Keith Emerson commented, "It was nice to see us back in the plus column for July."
A workshop meeting was scheduled with Gary Buysse from the Municipal Beverage Association for Wednesday, Aug. 9 to discuss the Liquor Store operation.
The Liquor Store reported small profits in May and June, as well, but reported losses in January, February, March and April.
Police Chief Chad Gulbranson reported 301 calls for July, with 15 citations issued, 3 arrests made, and 98 warnings issued. There were 14 assists to other agencies recorded.
The calls included 22 for public assistance, and 12 medical calls during July.
Gulbranson discussed with the City Council the nuisance ordinance enforcement, as well as reports of people living in the commercial zone.
The council voted to follow the recommendation of the city's attorney regarding the enforcement of these ordinances.
Following discussion on the clearing of sidewalks of snow in the winter, the council took no action on Gulbranson's request to amend the ordinance to read if a property owner had a sidewalk it must be kept clean, instead of the present listing of streets with sidewalks to be kept clean. Snyder brought up the question of the city moving snow off the streets and onto people's sidewalks where there is no boulevard. The question will be put on the September agenda.
Gulbranson also requested a no parking ordinance from Nov. 1 to April 1, during certain night hours to help with the problem of the street department having to deal with parked cars when trying to plow snow. This will also be addressed in September.
Jason Schultz reported that the department answered 18 calls in July, with the total for 2017 at 118 calls.
The new department vehicle should be in operation soon.
An opinion from the Secretary of State, State Auditor's office, and the city's attorney concludes that the First Responders are a volunteer unit, thus cannot be offered Public Employees Retirement Plan.
Councilman Jim Snyder commented that the department is still working with him on a plan to increase the volunteer stipend because PERA cannot be offered.
Chief Chad Mathews reported the department answered four calls in July.
The department's new truck should be delivered and in service within a week. The accessories were being installed.
The City Council approved a request for the department to use $5,000 from the Equipment Fund to pay for such necessities as water back packs, and other accessories.
Mayor Emerson reported he had attended the Fire Relief Assn. meeting, and discussion continues on updating the bylaws of the department.
Public Works Department
Supt. Kurt Haakinson gave the July updates on the water, wastewater and street departments.
The new lift station on Central Avenue should be operational in a week.
He reported that the City Beach is having good use, and more picnic tables will be moved there. The new beach slide is up and running.
Work on mill and overlay of city streets is on schedule.
Planning and Zoning
The Planning and Zoning commission met July 20, and among the topics was the subject of tiny houses.
A request has been received to place a tiny house on a lot in the city limits.
A Public Hearing was scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 24 on the variance request from Sam and Rachel Shrode for a tiny house, provided all the paperwork is submitted.
During the City Council's Open Floor portion of the Aug. 7 meeting, the tiny house topic was discussed.
Councilman Jerry Olson reported, "Every person I have talked to absolutely is against it," for reasons including property values and looks. "We are opening a big can of worms with this," Olson said.
Mayor Emerson commented, "I don't know of any cities around that have (tiny house ordinances). I am leery of it. I guess if you want a tiny house, I guess that's OK, but maybe you better buy some land and put it there."