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Nevis mayor urges liquor oversight

Nevis mayor Paul Schroeder suggested the council take a more proactive approach in managing the liquor store this week, his three-pronged proposal - calling for the formation of a committee, drafting guidelines and expectations for employees and banning alcohol on the job - earning council approval.

In April, the auditor had suggested the liquor store, as a source of income for the city, should be "attractive to the customer."

The Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association buoyed the advice, noting most cities have a committee addressing policies and procedures.

The committee, to be comprised of city administrator Carol Fridgen, liquor store manager Lisa Kamrowski and a rotating council member "will not manage the liquor store," Schroeder stressed. "That's the liquor store manager's job." The committee's role is to continually review policies. "This will always be a work in progress."

The committee will meet Monday, May 23 to begin drafting the policies, which will be reviewed by the council.

Schroeder's third proposal - no alcohol on the job - also addresses contingencies such as an employee who's in the muni enjoying a libation when the need for assistance arises.

"No off-duty employee should be behind the bar if (he/she) has been drinking," Schroeder said. "Employees are welcome. Just do not go behind the bar."

Schroeder's postscript proposal - "the mayor should get free beer while in office" - received only mild sniggering.

In other action, the council:

n Approved a new lighting system at the fire hall, at the request of fire chief Kerry Swenson.

The total investment is $5,799, including a utility incentive of $865. The new system will result in an annual operational savings of $1,416, with a less than five-year payback. Projected 10-year savings is $13,115.

"You always do your homework," Schroeder commended Swenson. "I see no reason not to go forward."

n Learned SHIP grant funds remain, Missy Lindow suggesting the city consider submitting a proposal for Statewide Health Improvement Program funding, which needs to be spent by June 30.

She reported the city will receive $500 for a bike rack in Muskie Park.

Schroeder suggested the city request funds for signage for walkways where kids travel. Lindow reminded them this can be for city streets only, not CSAH 2.

"Thank you for thinking of us," Schroeder said.

Council member John Plumley agreed to work on the matter with maintenance manager Don Umthun.

n Learned the high water on Lake Belle Taine is causing erosion, the wall at the beach buckling.

Umthun joked Super Glue has proven ineffective and he plans to barricade the area with plywood. He suggested a "temporary fix" until the water level goes down.

n Reported the sanitation department's irrigator is up and going "for the first time in 15 years without problems."

n Reported liquor store earnings of $2,534 in April.