A $50,000 transfer from the Lonsdale Liquor Fund to the Park Fund will help the city finance the Trcka Park building and rink project currently in the works.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Outdoor Recreation grant, which the city obtained last year to put toward the Trcka Park building and ice rink project, required the city to match grant funds one to one. In order to meet that requirement and finance the project, city staff proposed transferring $100,000 from the liquor fund to the park fund. Lonsdale Liquor has sufficient funds to make the first half of its transfer this year and the second half in 2021.
At the Lonsdale City Council meeting held Thursday, Lonsdale Liquor Store Manager Lynette Moe presented a $50,000 check donation to the Park Fund. The $50,000 is from the profit side of the business, not operating expenses, and this transfer prevents the city from using reserve funding for the cause.
The full DNR Outdoor Recreation grant amount is $250,000, and to receive the full grant, the city must contribute that same amount to the project. Apart from transferring $100,000 from the Liquor Fund to the Park Fund, other sources like donated equipment and the property tax levy will help the city meet its goal.
At the meeting, Moe explained that Lonsdale Liquor borrowed from the Sewer and Water Fund to open in 2007, and she paid off that transfer so she could start contributing to community attributes, like Trcka Park. Moe made the final payment on the building in January 2019.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Moe reported the liquor store has experienced no negative effects in terms of finances. Sales spiked in March especially, by about 40%, as customers stocked up on products near the beginning of the pandemic. Sales recently started to plateau, but Moe said the overall sales continue to be higher than last year.
Insurance premium increases
The city of Lonsdale’s insurance agent, Pete Flicek of Flicek Insurance Agency, presented to the City Council a review of the city’s premium and policy during its Thursday meeting.
The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) provides insurance coverage to Lonsdale for property, equipment breakdown, municipal liability, automobile liability and automobile physical damage, and bond. The total premium for 2020, which the City Council approved Thursday is $98,170, an increase of 16% over 2019 and 18% over 2018.
The increase is due to three main factors. The value has increased on insured assets, which LMCIT had appraised, and the city submitted prior claims for insurance coverage in areas that include damage to vehicles, vandalism at parks, a snowblower repairment and various equipment failures. The premium also includes builders’ risk for the Trcka Park building and rink project.
The line items in the specific departments covered by insurance will be impacted, said City Administrator Joel Erickson, but the city will be working within the context of keeping the tax rate the same.