Weather Forecast


City hears bad, good news about liquor sales

At first glance, the numbers look bleak:

Sales at Alexandria's two city-owned liquor stores fell from just over $5 million in 2010 to $4.6 million last year - a 9 percent drop.

But other factors brighten the outlook:

The city spent 10 percent less on beer, liquor and wine inventory than it did the previous year - $3.61 million compared to $4 million.

It also cut operating expenses from $750,431 to $745,137.

The end result was a net operating income of $251,203, a decrease of only 5 percent from 2010, which, according to the firm that conducted the audit, CliftonLarsonAllen, is a "great reflection on cost control."

The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the audit, presented by Dennis Schmidt, at its meeting Monday night.

"It was a challenging year, no question about it," said Mayor Dan Ness. "But Carol [Lanigan, manager of the liquor stores] has done a great job and we appreciate her and her staff."

Ness said increased competition and a struggling economy, for the third straight year, hampered liquor store sales.

The city was able to transfer $200,000 of the profits from Downtown Liquor and Plaza Liquor to its general fund, which ultimately eases property taxes. That's only half of the amount that was transferred in 2010.

The liquor stores have a strong track record of operating well in the black. Over the course of the last eight years, a total of $2.85 million in liquor store profits have been transferred into the general fund, Schmidt noted.

The liquor stores' audit was just one of many items on Monday's agenda. Read follow-up stories in the Echo Press for council news on these topics:

• A series of five races organized by Lakes Area Recreation called the "Holy Moly Ole Five."

• An application for a state program to fix up rental properties with energy efficient projects.

• Several requests from the Alexandria Beetles, including two new events - a Beer and Brat Fest and a Military All Star baseball game.

• The 15th annual Chain of Lakes Triathlon.

• A hydro-electric contract extension involving Alexandria Light and Power.

• The hiring of an architectural firm to design new restrooms at Dean Melton/Fillmore Park.

• A decision to redistrict the city's five wards.

• A conditional use permit to build a new Living Word Lutheran Church near McKay Avenue.

• A conditional use permit to construct a 150-foot-tall wireless communication tower near 30th Avenue.

• A call for bids on a project to reconstruct a portion of Fillmore Street.

• An update on a plan to improve two city parking lots downtown.

• Closing a loophole in the city's nuisance ordinance.

• Millwork on Broadway this summer.

• A public hearing for a project on Thomas Drive.

• A request to name a pond at Fred Foslien Park.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
(320) 763-1236