The taverns of Scandia are getting some local relief.

In response to business impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scandia City Council last week refunded $465 worth of liquor license fees to the city’s three on-sale bars: Meisters Bar & Grill, The Brookside Pub, and The Scandia Creamery.

The amount returned equals an 11-week proration of the businesses’ $2,200 annual license fees.  

“We don’t have many ways to support our businesses,” said Mayor Christine Maefsky, who proposed the idea. “But this is one thing we can do.”

City Attorney Eric Sherburne advised the council that the action was legal.

“The city doesn’t have unfettered discretion when it comes to liquor license fees,” Sherburne said. “But this is OK.”

Minnesota’s bars have been closed since March 17 as part of Governor Tim Walz’s Safer At Home executive order. Bars may begin utilizing their outdoor seating beginning June 1, but remain closed to indoor service.

Other business:

• The city’s auditing firm, Schlenner Wenner & Co, gave a presentation and issued a “clean” opinion of the city’s finances.

• The council approved a staffing policy revision that will allow city workers who are injured on the job to use their paid sick or vacation leave in lieu of accepting worker’s compensation, which pays a reduced wage.

• The council selected Swanson Haskamp Consulting, LLC to conduct a review and rewrite of the city’s development and zoning codes for a fee of $27,750. The review is required by law as part of the city’s comprehensive plan update.

• The council approved an agreement with Washington County that provides the city up to $8,000 to be used for municipal recycling program expenses in 2020. A contract with the Washington Conservation District for technical services was also approved. 

 The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held June 3 at 6:30 p.m.

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