By Barbie Porter
The Frazee City Council once again discussed the city-owned liquor store, but made no headway to address concerns expressed.
During the monthly council meeting on Monday, March 21, Councilman Mark Flemmer supported hiring a manager for the store that sells both off-sale and on-sale. He noted the auditor and representatives from the municipal liquor association both encouraged hiring a manager, and while the council discussed it before, no decisions were ever made.
Flemmer stated he collected financial data on the liquor store and it showed the off-sale ran at a deficit, while the on-sale showed a profit. Flemmer surmised products were not being accurately transferred from one entity to the other.
A concern expressed in regards to hiring a manager was the cost. In addition to wage, the full-time employee would also receive benefits. It was suggested the cost for a manager would wipe out the recent profits the store has shown.
Flemmer noted the store has not seen enough profits to transfer money into the city general fund for years.
Councilman Mike Sharp noted it has been at least 20 years.
Councilman Mark Kemper said he and Mayor Ken Miosek reviewed information provided by Flemmer and believed “90 percent” of the problem could be attributed to the computer system. However, when the suggestion came to replace the computer system, Kemper opposed the idea.
Councilwoman Nicole Strand recalled having such conversations before and suggested figuring a path to move forward so the concerns are not repeated again.
She expressed support in having a manager at the facility, which would provide a direct report to the council on a monthly basis.
Strand also noted if the computer system is insufficient, then it needed to be fixed.
Kemper agreed the conversation had become repetitive and then suggested it should be discussed outside of council meetings.
Strand explained the council continues to talk about the issue because no solutions have been made.
“We need to stop putting it off,” she said, adding if that means hiring a manager or fixing the computer system, then “fix it.”
Kemper stated the city spent $15,000 for a computer system “that doesn’t work” and questioned if buying another “that might work” was a good idea. He added if the store were to close in a year then the money spent on a computer system would be “for nothing.”
Flemmer then asked if a monthly inventory was being done, as the council had unanimously directed months ago.
Kemper asked what the city council would do with the information from a monthly inventory.
“So no one is doing inventory over there?” Councilman Mike Sharp asked.
Kemper then stated it is being done, as well as spot checks every week.
Flemmer questioned why the monthly inventory was not being provided to the council.
Kemper suggested it takes an employee up to six hours for the inventory, and if nothing is done with the information, then the time is wasted.
Flemmer explained there is value in a business having a monthly inventory.
“To me, the spot check is probably better than getting a monthly inventory,” Kemper said.
Miosek stated the inventory will get done.
No decisions were made by the council.