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Wells Council denies 3.2 liquor license

By Staff | Mar 17, 2019

The 3.2 liquor license requested by Marketplace Foods has been denied by the city of Wells during a public hearing on the matter at the Wells City Council meeting last Monday, March 11.

During the conversation on the proposed liquor license, the city had a handful of questions regarding the license and its effects it would have on the community and the community’s municipal liquor store.

CJ Holl, city administrator for the city of Wells, stated that the city’s Casey’s General Store had sold 3.2 beer in the past, but sales were not prominent enough to keep it on the shelves.

“The reason they had that available was because there was a handful of hours that the municipal liquor store was not open, and people would be able to purchase during the time we were not open,” said Holl. “Now, that is approximately five or six hours throughout the entire week.”

There was also the question of the impact of public safety and the enforcement of liquor laws.

“So, would the 3.2 be behind the counter, or where would it be in the store?” asked councilwoman Brenda Weber to the city’s attorney, David Frundt.

Frundt’s response was that Marketplace Foods could have it in any cooler or display in their store, it would not necessarily be in a contained area. According to Holl, Bruce Mandler, owner of Marketplace Foods who was unable to attend the public hearing, said he was not concerned about compliance issues with the alcohol.

“But you still have to be 21 to buy it, right?” asked Weber.

“Yes, you still need to be of legal age to purchase any alcohol in the state of Minnesota,” was Frundt’s response.

After the council went over the pros and cons of the 3.2 liquor license, a motion was made.

“I don’t think we need to add a 3.2 service, I think the municipal liquor store provides enough service now,” said councilwoman Crystal Dulas with regard to the amount of hours the Wells Municipal Liquor Store now has under its belt during the week, including Sunday liquor sales. Councilwoman Jessica Mortenson seconded Dulas’ motion, and the council agreed. The license was then denied by the council.

In other business, Tiffany Schrader of the Wells City Hall staff presented proposals from several companies with regard to a potential update of the Wells website.

The website last saw an update 18 years ago, in 2001, and with 66,000 people visiting the web page within the last year, 18,000 of which visit the Flame Theater page, the city believed it was time to have an update.

The council looked at three different proposals one from Bevcomm, at the cost of $4,535, with a monthly hosting fee of $50; one from GovOffice with costs that ranged from $11,550 to $15,350; and a final proposal from Revize whose costs range from $2,000 with an annual fee of $1,200 to $9,000 with an annual fee of $1,800.

Wells’ current website was created by Bevcomm, and the council stressed their desire to work with local companies. It was Dulas who made a formal motion to move forward with the Bevcomm proposal at the cost of $4,535, with a monthly hosting fee of $50. John Herman seconded the motion, and the council unanimously carried the motion.

The council had another decision to make with regard to a new heating unit for the Wells Community Center. In recent meetings of the City Council, it was noted that the Community Center was much colder than normal. Upon further investigation, it was found one of the two heating units in the building quit working. The current heating unit is 14 years old, and requires replacing.

The council looked over a number of options from Honeywell, the city’s current maintenance contract provider, Jim & Dudes, as well as Ron’s Plumbing/ HVAC.

Through some discussion, the council chose to replace the entire heating unit through Ron’s Plumbing at the cost of $7,989 for a 7.5 ton Rheem RTU unit. This cost will include crane and electrical costs, which includes installation, labor, run, and tests.

In other topics, the Wells City Council passed a resolution to call a public hearing on the proposed establishment of a tax increment financing, or TIF,?district within the city.

AMB Properties, a local business planning to move to the Wells Business Park, has requested its 8,900 square foot property become a TIF District, as opposed to requesting an abatement of the property. The difference between a TIF?property and an abated property is that the city would take the lead and make the ultimate decision on the TIF?property, while an abatement would need to be approved by multiple governing bodies, including the school district and the county.

The council approved the call for a public hearing, and it is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday, April 22.

The city’s next step was to enter into a financial planning agreement with Northland Securities to assist the city in establishing a TIF?District, do the filings, and background for the potential new TIF?District. The council approved this motion and will be asking the Wells EDA to assist in covering the $8,000 cost of the filings.

The council also:

Received an OSHA grant for $10,000 to update the Wells City Hall security. Included in the update will be new glass, locks, and other security mechanisms for the main office.

Witnessed a proclamation from Wells Mayor David Braun, who stated spring in Wells was to start immediately. Though the mayor has no control over the actual weather, he admits that the entire city has worked hard all winter and is deserving of a much needed break. Only time will tell if Mother Nature will hear the mayor’s proclamation.