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Nevis planning street dance as part of July 4 holiday

The Nevis Council reviewed the 2010 audit this week, Don Zierke of Miller McDonald reporting the city has a "good, healthy cash balance."

But he cautioned this should be maintained, given the possibility of state cuts.

"Small cities did not lose Local Government Aid," he said. "But they did lose market value credit. The losses are not as egregious as cities with populations over 2,500," Zierke said, citing Park Rapids as an example.

Total fund balances at the beginning of the year were $205,255 and $254,967 at the conclusion, the statement of receipts, disbursements, balances and investments reflected.

The city spent less than budgeted in general government, public safety, public works, culture and safety and the cemetery, with disbursements of $282,406, a $58,499 positive variance from the budgeted amounts.

"In all cases, you were under budget," Zierke said. "That's what we want to see."

Water and sewer rates "are where they should be," he said of the funds "breaking even."

Zierke cautioned the city is being overly conservative by moving nearly all the liquor store profits to the general fund, counseling the municipal liquor store should be "attractive to the customer."

"We're moving in the right direction," mayor Paul Schroeder said of updates. "We'll get there."

While operating expenses at the liquor store were down, $170,586 in 2010 compared with $178,118 in 2009, the cost of goods were up, $296,528 last year compared with $283,331 in '09, leading to an $11,000 drop in gross profit on sales.

Zierke praised the efforts of city administrator Carol Fridgen, citing her efficiency in managing the city's finances.

In other action, the council:

n Approved hiring 8th Hour Band for a street dance performance Friday, July 8 as part of the 4th of July week's entertainment and as a prelude to the pig races Sunday, July 10.

The band's price tag of $1,500 plus motel rooms drew discussion, council member John Plumley expressing opposition.

"We have to sell a lot of liquor to make $1,500," he said.

But Schroeder backed the proposal, noting the liquor store's net income is now approximately $14,000, compared with negative $3,000 for the same period last year. (Net income in March was $2,405 compared with negative $729 for the same period last year.)

"I believe we should let Lisa (Kamrowski) manage," Schroeder said. "I can honestly say if it's not successful, I will say no in the future. I hate to say, 'manage the liquor store but we will tie your hands.'"

Weather concerns were raised, Schroeder acknowledging an inside performance "won't make it."

"I think we should try it," Heidi Schmeichel said. "If it's storming, we can cancel."

Kamrowski expressed confidence in her recommendation of the band's performance from 9 p.m. to 1 p.m., which drew a question from Cammy Johnson as to whether an outdoor function can continue after midnight.

n Learned the city has received a Valspar grant via the Northwest Minnesota Foundation for 16 gallons of paint, brushes and rollers for Muskie Pavilion upgrades.

Russ Hensel and Angi Trelstad arrived with a paint color palette, the council deciding a committee will determine the colors.

A power wash will precede painting, which is expected to begin Saturday, April 21.

n Decided the city dump will be open from April 29-May 16 for residents' disposal of leaves and brush only.

n Agreed to solicit bids for construction of an addition to the liquor store's handicap access and deck.

n Renewed insurance with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust via Dick Sessing Insurance.

The city will not waive monetary limits on tort liability.

The council also approved a resolution establishing no fault limited protection for sewer back-ups or water main breaks for customers. This becomes effective if the loss exceeds the homeowner's insurance coverage.

n Learned hydrant flushing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 to Thursday April 28.

n Street sweepers should be arriving after work is completed in Park Rapids, maintenance supervisor Don Umthun reported.

n Reported sanitation department irrigation is beginning.

n Adopted the county's Hazard Mitigation Action Plan.

n Renewed the city's liquor liability insurance through Ebner Insurance of Wadena at an annual cost of $2,730 with a $500,000 liability limit.

n Reported high water levels on Belle Taine are impacting the city beach. "It's up to the wall," Schroeder said. "The addition of sand is not an option."

n Agreed to purchase a Cub Cadet lawn mower, although enlisting the aid of a goat to cut grass, given the price of gas, was proposed.

n Heard an Open Government Proclamation via the Park Rapids chapter of the League of Minnesota Voters.