City council receives year-end reports from dept. heads
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:13 AM
Spring Grove City Council members reviewed year-end reports from several departments on March 5. The library, police and fire departments and liquor store all checked in.
The Corner Store sparked the most discussion, but the council didn't vote to make any changes at present.
"The sole purpose of a municipal liquor store is to generate revenue to supplement other revenue sources," Councilman Robert Vogel said, "and for all the time and energy that went into it, it showed a paper profit of $11,000 and some change.
"I'm in favor of closing it," he added later. "I think it would do better as a privately-owned business."
With $374,885 in total income and $363,878 in total expenses, The Corner Store finished $11,007 in the black in 2012.
Members noted that on the plus side, the business provides a "needed service on Main Street," provides part-time employment for a number of persons (paying $82,354 in wages and benefits), and serves as the main fund-raiser for the Spring Grove Commercial Club through charitable gambling.
"At this point, I'm not overly concerned as long as we're making some profit," Councilmember Nancy Nelson said.
Mayor Bruce Poole noted that the amount of inventory in the report appeared large. "I'm just wondering if we have a lot of stuff there that's been there a while," he said.
Poole offered to investigate The Corner Store's current inventory practices and bring the matter back to the council in 2 to 3 months.
Council members read the report of Police Chief Folz as well. Folz is currently working alone, although the city has approved hiring a part-time officer to bolster available manpower. The Houston County Sheriffs' Department takes calls when Folz is not on duty.
There were 562 calls for service in 2012. An additional 73 calls were responded to by the Sheriffs' Department, Folz reported.
Criminal case investigations totaled 185 with a closure rate of 87 percent. Everything from animal bites to weapons calls was included in the report.
The short-handed department spent far less than its official budget in 2012. For the year $212,430 was set aside while $119,543 was actually spent.
Spring Grove's Public Library had a busy, but challenging year, director Dawn Johnson reported.
"We've had a good year. We've had an increase in just about everything," Johnson said.
For example: total visits rose from 17,633 to 19,005 between 2011 and 2012. Some items, such as eBook and audio book downloads, were up sharply, going from 314 in 2011 to 838 in 2012.
Johnson said that some medical issues have taxed staff. When children's librarian Kathy Herrera had to take some time off for a hip replacement, Bob Rodenz of Experience Works and other members took on more hours.
Unfortunately, Rodenz fell later and fractured his pelvis. He's doing some library-related chores from home, and Herrera is due back this week on restricted duty, Johnson reported.
Spring Grove Fire Department Chief Daryl Melbostad filed a report as well.
There were 17 fire calls in 2012. A used fire truck from the Caledonia Fire Department was purchased, equipped and is now in service. The department has also ordered and received most of its new equipment for elevated rescues.
Three firefighters retired during the year. There were 22 meeting nights and 12 in-house training sessions. Six firefighters attended state school in Mankato.
"It would be nice if we could sponsor some fund-raising activities for them," Nelson said. "Training expenses are pretty pricey, too."