In its Monday, Oct. 5, meeting, the Breezy Point City Council unanimously agreed to greatly reduce liquor license fees for the coming year in an effort to aid local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the coming year, an on-sale liquor license will cost businesses $25, as opposed to $2,000. Additionally, off-sale licenses have been decreased from $240 to $25, and Sunday on-sale licenses have decreased from $200 to $25.

“Because of COVID’s impact on bars and restaurants - and many other municipalities - we discussed reducing liquor license fees,” Mayor Tom Lillehei said.

Other local cities did this in the summer at the end of their fiscal year, but Breezy Point renews fees on Jan. 1 of each year, and sends renewal notices to businesses in October. Therefore, local businesses had already paid those fees when the pandemic reached Crow Wing County.

The council also agreed to increase golf cart fees from $10 to $15.

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“We are probably going to have in excess of 550 golf carts this year,” Lillehei said. “The administrative costs are such that warrant the increase in fees, just to handle those administrative costs."

Additionally, the council agreed to charge $200 to rent the disc golf course for tournaments.

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Adopted the public works department’s capital improvement plan.

  • Agreed to direct city staff to set a public hearing regarding an increase in salary for the mayor and council members. The council and mayor are the lowest paid in the area, with the mayor making $300 per month and council members earning $250 per month. Officials have suggested a $50-per-month raise to bring the city in line with Nisswa and near parity with Pequot Lakes.

  • Adopted a policy regarding the use of force for law enforcement, as mandated by the state to be adopted with minimal changes. Chief Kevin Merschman suggested the council adopt the policy as written.

  • Approved the purchase and installation of new graphics for three squad vehicles, totaling $2,397. This will make all city police vehicles uniform in appearance, with the exception of the part-time vehicle that will be rotated out next year.

  • Appointed Joe Garcia as an ex-officio and Connie Moroni as a member of the Park Committee.

  • Agreed to send a request for proposals to IT providers for city services, as Sourcewell will no longer provide IT services to local governments, effective Jan. 31.

Council member Rebecca Ball was not in attendance.

In September, the Breezy Point Police Department responded to 186 incidents, a decrease of 26 from September 2019. Among the incidents were two traffic arrests, six crashes, five thefts and three fires.

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.