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Nevis passes social host ordinance

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne addressed the Nevis City Council at their regular meeting, held Monday regarding their outdated liquor ordinances. He told the council he was asked to draft a social host ordinance for Nevis, while he did that, he looked at all of the city's ordinances concerning liquor.

"Several of them were outdated," Dearstyne said. "I felt that to do this properly we should rewrite some of them."

Dearstyne explained that Ordinance No. 1, which deals with liquor sales at the Nevis Municipal Liquor Store, didn't require any changes.

"Because you put language in there that incorporates Minnesota Statute 340A you won't even need to change it," he said. "You would not need to modify your ordinance if you chose to go to Sunday liquor sales when it goes into effect in July."

Dearstyne suggested the council repeal Ordinance No. 7. The ordinance, which was adopted by Minnesota statute relating to possession, consumption and procurement of non-intoxicating malt liquor by a minor, was repealed by the state in 1985. The council adopted Ordinance No. 42, repealing Ordinance No. 7.

Dearstyne recommended that the council amend Ordinance No. 13 that dealt with regulating the license and sale of non-intoxicating malt liquors. He reminded them that there are places in Nevis that do sell malt liquor and 3.2 beverages.

"My recommendation is changing that. There was language that allowed the sale of 3.2 to 19-year-olds," he explained. "The ordinance was dated some time back in the 1970s when that was legal. I changed the language for that and made it applicable."

The council voted to approve Ordinance No. 43, amending Ordinance No. 13 as per Dearstyne's recommendation.

According to Dearstyne, there was language in Ordinance No. 25 that needed to be corrected in accordance with state statute. The existing ordinance permitted the sale of wine not exceeding 14 percent alcohol by volume. Currently, the statute permits the sale of wine not exceeding 24 percent alcohol by volume.

Dearstyne also explained that, currently, violation of the ordinance would be considered a misdemeanor, punished by a fine of $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.

Ordinance No. 25 however cited violation of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $700 and or 90 days in jail. The council chose to adopt Ordinance No. 44, amending Ordinance No. 25.

Angela Graham was present at the council meeting as a representative of Hubbard In Prevention (HIP) in support of the council adopting Social Host Ordinance No. 41.

"The purpose of the social host ordinance is that we're trying to encourage reducing underage drinking," Dearstyne told the council. "We have grant money that has been awarded to HIP."

Graham informed the council about the Drug Free Communities Grant in the amount of $125,000 from the federal government with a $125,000 match from the community per year for five years.

"It's supported by both the sheriff's office as well as the county commissioners," he added. "In the HIP organization, we utilized all of the schools including Laporte, Nevis, Walker/Hackensack and Park Rapids looking at the underage drinking and we use those statistics to send in for the grant and get approved."

According to Dearstyne, this is the third grant that Hubbard County has received.

"We have been successful and we've been able to show them that success in reducing underage drinking," he said.

Dearstyne explained that the ordinance prohibits any person or persons from hosting an event where alcohol is present and being consumed by any individual under 21 years of age. The ordinance also establishes penalties for anyone hosting such an event.

"It doesn't expose the parents to any liability if they're out of town and the kids were at home hosting a party so the parents would not have any liability but whoever is hosting it would," Dearstyne said.

The council chose to adopt Social Host Ordinance No. 41.

In other business the city council:

• Approved the entertainment budget of $2,750 in order for the Nevis Municipal Liquor Store to book live music for Muskie Days.

• Requested the Planning Commission review a proposed ordinance amendment regarding fences within city limits.

• Looked through the submissions that were received for the design of the new city logo. Councilmembers narrowed it down to a small selection to be sent to the contractor for pricing before making a final decision.

• Appointed Parks Improvement Committee to utilize $10,000 in funds.

• Tabled the purchase of a new refrigerator for the liquor store and requested the Liquor Store Committee research the issue and make an informed recommendation to the council.

• Approved the request of Kiley Weaver, liquor store manager, to attend the 2017 Minnesota Municipals Beverage Association Annual Conference.

• Approved the removal of Ed Frankowiak as Assistant Fire Chief, who stepped down from the position.

• Voted to accept the statutory limits for liability coverage from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

• Accepted the out-of-state travel policy.

• Adopted the Minnesota Job Match as a guide for their Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Step Program.

The next regular Nevis City Council meeting will be held at the Nevis Administration Building on Monday, March 10 at 6 p.m.

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