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Detroit Lakes municipal liquor sales hit record high in 2013

The Detroit Lakes liquor store had a record year in 2013, despite being hacked and causing a lot of people credit card hassles.

Thursday afternoon, council members and city staff gathered for the city’s annual planning meeting, discussing what happened in 2013 and planning ahead for the next several years. The liquor store was just one of the topics, including annexation, economic development, food and beverage tax and more.

After a bit of a chaotic start to the year at the municipal Lakes Liquor with a change in managers, the liquor sales soared for the year, increasing $500,000. Gross sales totaled nearly $5.5 million for 2013 – a 10.4 percent increase over 2012, an all-time high for Lakes Liquor.

The city’s technology department is updating and upgrading its firewall protection, which will help prevent hacking in the future.

“This is way better, night and day difference,” Communications Manager Scott Schumacher said of the firewall protection.


Over the next few years, Detroit Lakes has many projects on the to-do list. Some will happen, some may not.

“There are a lot of good projects that needs to be done. Decisions need to be made,” Community Development Director Larry Remmen said.

Some of those projects include the west frontage road along Highway 10, airport land acquisition, remodel bathhouse, Legion Road crossing, Willow Street construction, airport runway expansion, West Lake Drive bike trail, Frazee Street construction, North Shore Drive construction, new water tower, Pavilion and many more.

“This gives a good sense of what we’re doing, comprehensively,” City Administrator Bob Louiseau said of the plans for five years down the road. “There’s something going on throughout the city.”

Projects for 2014 include a water line loop near the airport, a T-hanger at the airport, Heartland trail extension, work at the Detroit Mountain, Highway 59 roundabout, Washington Avenue construction and more. Those projects are all accounted for and ready to move forward.

Helping to pay for some of those future projects could be through the county proposed SMART program, or Safe, Multi-Modal, Active Responsible Transportation. SMART is a half-percent sales tax that would garner funds for county transportation projects.

Remmen said about 40 percent of the funds raised through the tax would come from visitors to Becker County. Alderman Bruce Imholte said while that’s good, his beef with SMART is that most of the other 60 percent would come from Detroit Lakes but the money would be spread throughout the county and not necessarily come back to Detroit Lakes.

“The real goal is property tax relief” throughout the county, Becker County Commissioner Ben Grimsley, who was in the audience, said.

He added that projects like Washington Avenue reconstruction and the trail along West Lake Drive would benefit from the tax.

One part of the city looking for development that isn’t getting any for a while is the property where the former Miguel’s restaurant stood. The city purchased the land and got it all squared away before sending out requests for proposals for redevelopment. They received none.

Remmen said that while they didn’t get any responses, it did strike an interest with a couple developers who are working on other projects and the timing just isn’t right right now.

“We’re hoping something will come together in the next 12-18 months,” Louiseau said.


In 2015, the final phase of the Long Lake annexation will be complete. It will include the west side of the lake.

Discussion for the next annexation could involve the Floyd Lake area. While the area has been discussed for several years, Detroit Township isn’t happy about it, Remmen said.

“They are not real excited about it, but it’s something we need to talk about,” he said.

Residents in that area have been having sewer problems for years, but it’s a continuous cycle between wanting to be on city services for some and then getting their sewers fixed and not wanting to be on city services for years because of the investment.

Detroit Mountain management

Similar to the management structure for the Detroit Lakes community and Cultural Center and the County Club golf course, the city plans to be a part of the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area management.

While some terms will be different and suitable to each entity, the city said the management agreement will be similar to those they are already a part of.

A few of the aldermen said they want to make sure the city is involved and has a couple votes on the board when it comes to making decisions. There was some confusion over if it is aldermen on the management committee or if the city appoints community members to represent the city.

“We need to be a little more informed on these groups,” Alderman Ron Zeman said.

Food and beverage tax

Finance Officer Pam Slifka said the city made about as much in food and beverage tax revenue in 2013 and in 2012. Revenues for 2011 were $244,115. For 2012, it was $336,334, and for 2013, it was $336,332. The city has brought in nearly $917,000 since the tax started.

The expenditures for the tax revenue have included $89,000 for lake treatments, with another $1,000 committed to it in the future; $15,000 for the West Lake Drive multi-use trail study, with another $15,000 in the future; $232,000 for parking; and $197,000 for Tower Road multi-use trail.

Other future commitments include multi-use trails from the culvert to McKinley Avenue and Highway 10 west and Thomas Avenue. They have also set aside future funds for Washington Avenue parking.

The city has had to pay $21,000 in Minnesota Department of Revenue administrative fees for the tax.

Slifka said the city has about $350,000 in the fund as of today.