Brainerd to give break on liquor license fees

Brainerd City Hall Wednesday, March 25. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd residents and businesses will see changes to code enforcement and fees for on-sale liquor licenses after the city council agreed on alterations during its meeting Monday, April 6.

Having already suspended downtown parking restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council decided to do the same throughout the city.

City code enforcement will be complaint-driven for the time being, and all rental licenses — which normally expire May 31 — will be extended through July 31.

Perhaps the biggest change, though, comes for on-sale liquor establishments. The state’s deadline for liquor license renewals is July 1, which has not changed. The city, however, will not collect any license fees while Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order closing bars and restaurants is in place. Walz announced Wednesday, April 8, the order will extend until May 4 — three more days than the previous date of May 1 — during which restaurants and bars can only be open for drive-thru and takeout orders. While the executive order is in place, the city will not charge establishments liquor license fees. The fees will be invoiced within 30 days of the order ending, and businesses will have 90 days to pay a prorated fee. They will not be charged for months they were not able to be open.

In other business Monday, the council:


Approved an on-sale/Sunday wine license application from Slice on Oak, which is set to replace Giovanni’s Pizza on Oak Street.

Denied waiving fees for the sewer and water availability charges for Paul Johnson’s property at 728 Fourth Ave. NE. Johnson purchased the property from the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority in 2017 and agreed at the time to build a house on the property within 12 months to get the SAC and WAC fees waived. He did not build a house in that time but is now planning to build one in 2020 and asked the city to honor the original agreement. Council members agreed not to waive the fees because the agreement was three years ago and thought doing so would set a bad precedent.

Approved a street closure/event application for the annual Crop Walk set May 6 using Eighth and Ninth streets northeast, N Street, 14th and 15th streets northeast and Highway 210.

Accepted the resignation of Police Lt. Chad Kleffman, effective March 31. Kleffman served

the police department for 21 years, working primarily as a criminal investigator. He accepted a position with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Promoted Police Sgt. Mike Kulzer to lieutenant after the resignation of Kleffman, effective April 7. Kulzer will be placed at Step 6 of the Teamsters labor agreement wage scale, earning $42.41 an hour, an increase of $1.87 per hour.

Hired Dalton Langer as a police officer, effective March 31. Langer was placed on Step 1 of the wage scale, earning $27.43 per hour.

Applied for funding from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for design and construction of the Mississippi Landing Trailhead Park. The commission sent out a request for proposals for projects to be funded by its 2021 Environmental and Natural Resource Trust Fund. The city requested $3.8 million for the park, which is proposed to be constructed along the Mississippi River on East River Road.


Agreed to increase pay for election judges, setting hourly rates at $15 for head and assistant head judges and $12 for trainees. The rates increased from $12 an hour for head judges and $10 an hour for trainees in 2018. The council also set aside $500 to purchase lunch and dinner for election judges.

Appointed Kevin Yeager to the planning and zoning commission. Yeager also serves as vice chair of the parks and recreation commission.

Postponed the municipal stormwater presentation and public hearing to May 18. The hearing was supposed to be Monday.

Hosted a public hearing for the road construction project in northeast Brainerd involving B, C and D streets and Fifth Avenue Northeast. City Engineer Paul Sandy read a letter from C Street resident Linda Marsh, who felt the majority of the project cost should fall on business owners instead of residents because much of the traffic in that area is business traffic going to the East Brainerd Mall. D Street resident Jeff Czeczok thanked the city for the project and praised staffers for doing a good job of filling in cracks and potholes in that area when needed.

The council authorized staff to advertise for bids, which will be opened at 10 a.m. May 8.

Hosted a public hearing for the road construction project in northeast Brainerd involving 10th and 11th avenues northeast and J, L, O and P streets. No one spoke during the public hearing. The council authorized staff to advertise for bids, which will be opened at 11 a.m. May 8.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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