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Nevis asked to contribute to music festival

Bands played outside Terrapin Station at the 2012 Muskie Days festival and under a tent in Muskie Park. Hundreds of music lovers heard an eclectic array of bluegrass, folk, rock, country and blues music. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

The Nevis Council was asked to address "moving forward with Muskie Days" Monday - specifically, is the city willing to contribute a percentage of the liquor store profits to buoy the music festival.

Brian Skinness and Nancy Lewis approached the council on behalf of the C&C, mayor Paul Schroeder subsequently asking council members to discuss the matter with the two.

"They've done a tremendous job," Schroeder said. "We need to give them an answer."

But he qualified the remark by noting the Northwoods Triathlon contributes funds to the C&C, as opposed to requesting them.

"In the past few years, extra effort and expense have gone into growing the music festival portion of Muskie Days," Skinness stated in a memo to the council.

"Since this is becoming a more concerted effort between the city and the Chamber, the question should be asked: Does the city of Nevis want the Chamber to continue developing the music festival element of Muskie Days?"

"Yes, absolutely," council member Cammy Johnson replied. Heidi Schmeichel agreed.

The music festival has grown from seven bands in 2010, with a loss of $6,158, to 13 bands in 2011 over a two-day period, with a $2,541 deficit, to 30 bands in 2012, with a loss of $1,200.

Skinness attributed the school's 100-year reunion to the smaller deficit. The C&C has also upped several fees. But said the event "continues to be a financial challenge for the Chamber."

"To avoid future losses, the Chamber can reduce the music festival or find additional revenue sources," Skinness said.

"While all businesses benefit from the success of Muskie Days, the city is in a unique position to benefit the most due to the ability to sell alcohol on the street. The benefit of continued growth accrues to the city more than any other single entity and presents a reasonable source of necessary funding," he said.

"As an estimate, the budget for production, talent and marketing could increase about $5,000 to maintain and continue to grow the event," Skinness said.

He offered three options: n A lump sum - the pros being the amount is known for planning purposes. Cons are weather and other factors that affect liquor sales.

n A percent of liquor store sales - with "benefit and risk equitably shared and sets the stage for growth." He suggested as an example 15 percent of $30,000 in sales, $4,500, with a lag of one year.

n Do nothing - which, with the music festival under-funded, the event would be reduced or a private location sought with regular ticketing.

"I can argue for both sides," Schroeder said. "Should we support a community organization is the big question. And how big of the piece of the pie do you want? I don't think this should fall on the city."

Skinness said the C&C is asking for incremental financing.

"We can't duplicate" this year's turnout next year without the centennial, Skinness said. He noted production is a large part of the cost; this year's sound equipment was provided at no charge.

Skinness suggested lowering the number of bands but upping the quality, Trampled by Turtles surfacing.

The council took no action, agreeing to meet with Skinness and Lewis on the matter.

In other action, the council:

n Adopted the preliminary property tax levy of $208,521, a 1.6 percent drop from last year's levy, and the second reduction in two years.

By fund, the levy includes $195,609 in the general fund, $80,200 in general government, $50,858 for streets, $46,946 for police, $17,605 for parks and $12,912 for fire.

n Reported liquor store earnings of $13,963 in August, and a fund balance year to date of $30,304.

Liquor store manager Lisa Kamrowski requested hiring the band Muffin Man for the Octoberfest community dinner Sept. 29 and Body Shots for Oct. 27 at a cost of $600 each.

The council agreed to move forward with making the muni's restrooms handicap accessible at Schmeichel's request.

"This should be at the top of the agenda," she said, having witnessed the difficulty experienced by a handicapped individual.

"We've had a good year at the liquor store," Schroeder said. "I'm all for making improvements."

He suggested getting prices for a security camera for the off-sale area.

n Accepted a bid of $840 for tree removal in the city from Kelly Rittgers.

n Agreed to enforce the city ordinance relating to barking dogs, deputy Jeff Stacey noting several complaints have been received in recent weeks.

n Distributed "the road to Nevis" brochure, defining the city as "A wonderful place to visit, raise a family, vacation or retire!"

n Approved, at the recommendation of the Planning Commission, a variance request for Keith and Renee Thielen for property located at 116 Emily Street on Lake Belle Taine, with five conditions.

The new dwelling is not to project closer than 55 feet from the ordinary high water mark.

The garage is to be removed within six months from the issuance of the building permit for the new dwelling.

The new structure's height is not to exceed 24 feet.

The existing westerly driveway is to be removed and relocated to the west.

And the two tax parcels are to be combined prior to issuance of the building permit.

n Set hydrant flushing dates of Oct. 2, 3 and 4.