The Nevis City Council moved one step closer to a municipal liquor store remodel at Tuesday’s meeting, approving paying $6,080 to Widseth, Smith and Nolting for architectural services to explore the cost and details of moving off-sale liquor sales to the city hall meeting room and making improvements to the on-sale facility.

The proposed project includes moving the off-sale liquor business to the city hall building, refurbishing the current on-sale as well as improvements to the bar to make it ADA-compliant and adding an exterior bar to the existing veranda.

Services provided by WSN will include an architectural plan and images of what the final project would look like.

Fire department purchases

The council approved the purchase of three sets of turn-out gear, as requested by Fire Chief Chris Norton, at approximately $2,500 each to replace expired gear.

“We’d like to get on a rotation, so that we’re buying several sets a year instead of all at once, for budgeting purposes,” he said.

Sets include a jacket and pants since the department has an inventory of boots, although Norton said boots may be included in future replacement sets.

The council also approved purchasing three used radios for the trucks and enough portables to have one for every firefighter, at a total cost not to exceed $4,500, from Itasca County where the department purchased new radios recently. The used radios have been tested at their shop and are operable.

Replacement batteries cost around $100 each, but Norton said that since new portable radios cost around $3,000 each, buying used radios will be a substantial savings for the department.

Tax increment financing options

Nevis businessman Justin Isaacson asked the city to consider Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as a way to help new businesses in the community. Isaacson is planning to put in a car wash and laundromat facility on property, and the economic development group in Walker suggested TIF as one option to consider in financing the project.

TIF uses increased property taxes that a new real estate development generates to finance the cost of development.

The council said they would like examples of how TIF works to see if this would be feasible for Nevis. “We’re certainly willing to entertain it, but a lot of information has to be garnered first,” Mayor Jarod Senger said.

In other action, the council:

  • Discussed a nuisance property at 301 Bunyan Trails that property owners have stated will be cleaned up. The council set an Oct. 31 deadline for cleanup.

  • Approved a sign from the Ross Lewis sign company with “City of Nevis” and the city logo for the newly sided city office building. With installation, the total cost is $2,035.

  • Heard due to the heavy rain this was one of the hardest years for irrigating wastewater that public works supervisor Don Umthun has seen. “I actually sprayed a little bit a week or so ago and that’s the latest I’ve ever had to go,” he said. “We usually spray 10 million (gallons) and I went over 14 million this year.”

  • Umthun said they are trying the best they can to fix potholes, including those by the school. “When bituminous roads stay wet like this the traffic just destroys them,” he said. “This spring is not going to be good.” They are in the process of getting plow trucks ready for winter.

  • Requested more quotes for the playground prep work at Muskie Park before proceeding.

  • Heard from Hubbard County deputy Josh Oswald that he received information that led to a felony nationwide warrant pickup, another tip that also led to a warrant pickup, and one driving complaint that resulted in a DWI arrest in town.

  • Heard from municipal liquor store manager Kiley Weaver that Vikings game on Sundays continue to be popular. The full-time bartender has resigned and they have begun the hiring process.

  • Approved the addition of an indemnification and hold harmless agreement between the City of Nevis and Philip and Lynn Kranh to the variance approved last month.

  • Heard a comment from Karrin Lindow, owner of Nevis Lumber who said the city should publish requests for bids in the newspaper so everyone has an opportunity to bid.

Due to the Veteran’s Day holiday, the next Nevis council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 at city hall.