By Lynda Jensen
DASSEL, MN If all goes according to plan, Thirsty’s Tavern will be next in line for obtaining a strong beer license in Dassel, according to action at the Dassel City Council meeting Monday.
The council previously took action in July on granting a permit to Hojies Grill, which included changing the city ordinance to accommodate this request.
Hojies was a candidate to obtain a strong beer license because it is an establishment that draws 60 percent of its sales from food.
Council Member Bob Lalone questioned the food portion of the petition by Thirsty’s.
City Administrator Myles McGrath said that Thirsty’s was “well within” the guidelines for 60 percent sales from non-alcoholic fare, according to information supplied to McGrath by owner Rob Walters.
It was noted by council members that the kitchen is open until late in the evening at Thirsty’s.
To follow the process, first the city must grant a wine license to Thirsty’s, which it did last Monday. From there, a strong beer permit must be issued, which will likely take place at a future meeting. This is the same process that Hojies followed.
It is up to the state to review Thirsty’s application and grant its approval, McGrath noted. To this end, the city will turn over the application to the state.
Food shelf branch in Dassel?
Council Member Bob Wilde noted that he was asked by the treasurer of the Meeker County Emergency Food Shelf about opening a branch in Dassel. “They are an independent non-profit,” Wilde added.
The next step would be to find people interested in sitting on a committee, he said. The food shelf people are also looking for space.
“People are really hurting in Dassel,” observed Council Member Pat Haapala.
It’s hard for residents to travel to the Litchfield food shelf items, especially if they are in that position, it was noted.
Resident protests money spent on Dassel Museum
Resident Jason Benzing attended the meeting, objecting to the amount of money being spent on the Dassel Museum.
He produced a pie chart from numbers he obtained at the budget workshop that showed 8 percent of the total city budget expenses going toward the Dassel Museum.
McGrath noted that the chart was incorrect because it reported raw numbers and didn’t take into account other factors. He pointed out that the Dassel Fire Department shows a -2 percent for its portion of expenses, and that this is inaccurate.
“Utilizing those numbers in their raw form was not a true reflection of what is actually spent for many of the departments towards operations,” McGrath noted.
For example, the Community Room at the Dassel Museum is regarded as a city venture, since the city requested it to be added to the project.
“The DAHS pays for custodial costs, business machines, supplies, programming, exhibits, furniture, equipment, advertising, the newsletter, promotions, and the sound system,” commented Museum Director Carolyn Holje.
The city pays for insurance, utilities, maintenance, and the hiring of a part-time or full-time director.
In its own right, the Dassel Area Historical Society has managed to fundraise an impressive amount of money for the museum project, securing $88,000 from its own members (plus interest in the amount of $1,976), $75,000 from Dassel Township, and $25,000 from Meeker County.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from Lalone, who asked the council to develop a process to deal with future bid scenarios that might follow the so called “Best Value,” federal process.
McGrath defined Best Value as contracting that allows for those companies that do bid all of the specifications identical to the specifications to be further analyzed under other criteria to determine if they are the best value even if they may be higher priced.
The city did not accept the low bid on the fire truck recently, which prompted the issue.
As far as the fire truck bid, this was advertised clearly with a specific set of specifications, with a bidding period four times as long as required by statute.