City buys land for new liquor store location

MARSHALL – The Marshall municipal liquor store has a new future home, after action taken by the Marshall City Council on Tuesday evening.

Council members met in both a special meeting and a budget work session on Tuesday evening. After a closed session to discuss issues related to the purchase of a lot in the J.C. Boyer Addition, the council voted to buy the land, with the intent of building a new liquor store there.

Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the city has been looking at places to relocate the municipal liquor store. Profits from the liquor store go to help fund city projects, but it has outgrown its current building and location on East College Drive. A lot in the Boyer Addition was being considered as a place to build a new liquor store, Martig said. The property is about one acre in size and is located along Boyer Drive.

After meeting with the property owners, Martig said, the city had the opportunity to buy the lot for the price of $205,000.

Council member Glenn Bayerkohler said he did not support the project. The idea behind building a bigger liquor store would be to generate more funds for the city through increased alcohol sales, he said.

“The question I have is, does the end justify the means?” Bayerkohler said.

Council members voted 5-1 in favor of buying the land. Bayerkohler cast the vote against, and council member Mike Boedigheimer abstained from the vote.

The council also took action on a few other items of business, including approving bids for replacement of a pedestrian bridge on East Redwood Street and construction of a pedestrian and bicycle trail running from Clarice Avenue to Minnesota Highway 19.

After the meeting, council members stayed for what Martig said would likely be “the first of many” work sessions on the 2014 budget. Martig reviewed factors that could affect the city’s priorities in setting a budget and levy. The city needs to adopt a preliminary levy by Sept. 15.

Martig said Marshall is projected to receive about $340,000 in Local Government Aid from the state next year. However, he said, levy limits may also have an effect on the 2014 budget.

“In many ways, we’re going to be restricted on what we can and can’t do,” Martig said, but the increased LGA funding was a positive sign for the city.

Martig said city department heads are reviewing and updating the city’s five-year capital plan as the budget process moves ahead. Council members and city staff will also need to consider upcoming infrastructure projects during the budget process. Construction on the regional amateur sports center and expansions at the MERIT Center are proposed to begin in 2014, as are projects including reconstruction on West Lyon Street and rerouting North Bruce Street, colloquially known as Skunk Hollow Road. Work on the bike trail connecting Marshall to Camden State Park will also continue.

As part of the budget work session, several community organizations presented requests for city funding in the 2014 budget. Presenters included the Sounds of Summer Committee, the Marshall Amateur Hockey Association, the Lyon County Historical Museum, the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council and a project to bring the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall to Marshall in 2015.