Canton continues ongoing discussion
regarding planned liquor store closure
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 4:16 AM
Once again the future plans for the city-owned and operated liquor store were a topic of discussion at the June 12 Canton City Council meeting.
Possible options for transfer of the building and business were discussed. Although there had been discussion as to leasing the building in the past, more thought was given to the possible sale of the building, to a qualified purchaser, along with the existing inventory.
Part of the discussion included the need for the potential buyer to prove an ability to sustain the business and hold the necessary licenses.
Council members also discussed the possibility of the city having first right of refusal buy back option of the building in case the new owner could not make it work.
The council also stated that the value of the building and contents needed to be determined so it would be ready if an interested buyer came forward.
It was decided that the city attorney would be contacted to aid in determining the options for the city to ensure that the existing business would continue to operate after the proposed sale and also to assist with the application for purchase process if it was decided to pursue that route.
The city clerk will be sending a letter to persons that had expressed an interest since the public was notified of the city's decision to close the business. This letter will confirm continued interest and also provide additional information as to the possible acquisition of the liquor store.
Depending upon the advice of the city attorney, a financial statement or statement of solvency may be required along with an application to be filed with the city clerk.
Since the planned end of city involvement in the business is Nov. 1, 2013, the general feeling was that the issue needs to be pursued as quickly as possible to avoid any closure of the business.
A copy of the 2012 audit was given to the council members for review. It was noted that the liquor store did show a $60 profit, not including interest on reserves.
The loss shown by the sewer and water department was attributed to depreciation and without that deduction, would be operating at a profit.
Maintenance issues discussed
The city council discussed several items regarding city maintenance during the meeting, including a report that the signs are now up at the ball field. It was decided that the American Legion should be contacted regarding the $89.78 charge. The Legion will also be contacted regarding the condition of the score board, reported to be in a poor state of repair. The city is seeking the Legion's decision regarding repair or removal.
It was also noted that the street light lamp at the fire hall has been replaced. Following some additional discussion, the cost of the replacement will be determined and it will then be decided if all the bulbs should be replaced since most are original and were installed five years ago.
The street and sidewalk repairs within the city have been delayed due to the rainy weather. Updates will be given later. According to Jon Nordsving, the city maintenance director, the overlay of Prairie Avenue is recommended; but no cost has been determined. The installation of sidewalk may be completed by Nordsving with the assistance of Jim Davis. Davis is to be contacted.
In regard to painting the water tower, also referenced at previous meetings, cost estimates for the project are expected to be about $10,000 higher than the previous job. The Maguire Iron company was also consulted about the fading of the red roof on the tower. They suggested a change of color to possibly aqua or black. No decision was made.
Nordsving stated that since there are few companies who do the service, the city of Canton is on the schedule for the spring of 2014, but the job could be cancelled or delayed if necessary funds are not available or if it was determined by the city that the project should not be completed at that time. Interior repairs to the water tower will also be necessary, but no date for that project has been set. The interior project is expected to be more costly.
Bids were submitted by Vernon Zafft and Mark Gulbranson for painting the Miton House. The differences in the two bids were discussed and it was decided to proceed with Zafft's submission of $892, with the city purchasing the paint. Zafft will also be contacted regarding the downspouts, gutters and window repair.
Updates on the status of the installation of new windows at the Town Hall were discussed, with the quote of $2,100 from Prosper Lumber approved. The current windows were believed to have been installed in the 1980s. The replacement windows will be new double pane argon windows, paid for by funds provided the Rockwell Collins Green Cities Grant. The money from the grant will be issued in July, with installation hopefully to be scheduled as soon as the windows are available.
Repair of the eaves at the Town hall was also a part of the discussion. Nordsving stated that he will need to contact Chad Wangen for assistance in the project with his bucket truck.
All previously reported matters concerning city maintenance of emptying garbage cans at the park have been resolved. City planters have been filled with soil and planted with flowers.
It was determined that the trees on the Knutson property are not on the city alley right of way, but it was noted that there are two trees planted behind the township shed on top of existing sewer lines which will need to be removed.
Canton Day Off
Cindy Shanks provided updates as to the upcoming 2013 Canton Day Off celebration as well as the larger event in 2014.
This year's celebration will be held on August 16 to 18 with planned events to include a barbecue cook-off, town photo, church dinner, bean bag tournament, wine tasting and street dance.
Next year's events are in the planning stages, but a band has been hired to perform. The continuation of the barbecue cook-off is hopefully to be a part of the event, along with many other activities.
The possibility of a change in location to the city-owned area near the former elementary school was a part of the discussion.
Concerns were raised as to the condition of the school and potential liability issues as well as the distance from downtown businesses. Another concern had to do with the availability of power for the event at both the current location and proposed location. There was no decision on the matter; it was a topic of discussion only.
In other matters, the city handled the following issues.
Mayor Donivee Johnson informed the council that Poppy Zafft has the appropriate small restaurant license, which was a follow-up from the emergency meeting held earlier this month regarding a licensure infraction. A question arose at that time whether she had the proper license to be open on Sundays, which she does.
The Minnesota Highway department was contacted regarding the sign issue at Old Crow Antiques obstructing the view of traffic.
Mowing was authorized for the nursery and Kelly properties, with services provided by Tom and Joe Dorn as needed and authorized by the city. The costs for this service will be assessed to the property owners.
It was noted that there will be an earlier special meeting to be held prior to the regular July 10 Council meeting date. The Well Head Public Hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. with the regular meeting to follow.