New split liquor fee approved after referendum to change to change city charter approved by voters

By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills City Council is one step closer to finalizing the details of the new split liquor license process in the community.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, the NY Mills City Council approved an on-sale liquor license fee of $1,600 and a special Sunday liquor license sale of $200. The move came after voters overwhelmingly approved becoming a split liquor city in a referendum vote in May.

The new liquor license fee came from a recommendation from the liquor committee. The fee is slightly lower than in Perham and Wadena, but right in the middle of other similarly sized communities in the state.

“It kind of puts us less than our neighbors that have a larger population and a little bit higher than some of the others by a bit,” said Mayor Marsha Maki. “We were comfortable with that amount.”

By comparison, Perham charges $2,300 for an on-sale liquor license, Wadena $2,500, Battle Lake $1,500, Ottertail $1,400 and Frazee in 2018 charged $1,200.

Councilman Josh Hoaby said the $1,600 on-sale liquor license fee would keep NY Mills below Perham and Wadena, which are both bigger communities. 

City clerk Julie Roberts said the difference between the communities the council was comparing NY Mills to was that very few communities have a municipal bar, as well as another on-sale establishment in town.

In other news

• Acknowledged a donation from Arvig for $2,500 for the NYM2025 childcare project. Arvig has pledged a total of $10,00 to be paid in four payments of $2,500 over a four year period. This is the first installment of their pledge. 

• Acknowledged a donation from the NY Mills Fire Relief Association of equipment at a value of $23,484. 

• Approved a resolution to accept funding from the American Recovery Plan Act funding. Roberts said she thinks the city could receive around $135,000 in COVID-19 relief funding. 

• Approved a payment of $143,573.12 as part of the main lift station improvement project. Michael Weber, of Apex Engineering, said the project continues to experience with manufacturing the pump station is estimated to be Aug. 2. Last month the city was hoping to receive that at the end of the June. There were a few delivery delays that have slowed down the project schedule up to this point and that has affected the pump station. 

• Approved a resolution to receive proposals and authorizing the contract for the public utility building addition project. The proposal from Design Intent Architects will not to exceed $67,250 for the proposal for the new public utility building. 

• Heard an update from Weber concerning the North Boardman Avenue Reconstruction project. Weber said the construction would likely take place in 2022.

• Approved a payment of $17,054 for the aeration pond liner repair project, which was recently completed. 

• Heard the monthly liquor store report from the month of June. The gross off-sale was essentially flat from the year before, while the on-sale cost of good sales increased 96 percent. As a whole, the total gross revenue was up 13 percent from last June, while the combined cost of good sales was down 3.24 percent. Year to date revenues are up 119.16 percent from last year. 

• Heard that the city received five applications for the open full-time police officer position and police chief Bobby Berndt said interviews were held last Wednesday.