The operation of charitable gambling at Bernie’s Main Dray in Keewatin continued to dominate city council discussion at its meeting last week.
Last month, discussion turned heated when the council was presented with a request from AMVETS to provide charitable gambling at the Keewatin establishment. The council declined to vote on the matter in July, citing a city ordinance that required organizations that conduct gambling within the city limits to also have headquarters located within the city. Although AMVETS planned to lease space with the city, doubts were raised whether the requirement had been met.
At last week’s meeting, however, correspondence from City Attorney John Dimich indicated the city couldn’t mandate headquarters location within city limits.
“…the League (of Minnesota Cities) is of the opinion a city cannot require the organization have its headquarters in the city,” read a letter to the council from Dimich.
Although the council had previously expressed reservation about allowing the AMVETS gambling operation due to the percentage of proceeds that would potentially stay local, councilors did approve the organization’s premise application and gambling application as well as amending the charitable gambling ordinance deleting the headquarters requirement language. Councilors also indicated they may, in the future, develop donation percentage standards for organizations operating within the city.
AMVETS Post 12 Commander Mike Pistilli said they were willing to work with the city if and when it develops charitable gambling expenditure standards. “We just want to come in here and do business.”
In other business, the council:
• Listened to options presented by Benchmark Engineering for funding its wastewater treatment plant upgrades. The engineering firm recommended the city seek funding from United States Department of Agriculture. The application is a two-part process and preliminary engineering would be required to move to the second phase of the funding. Benchmark will provide an estimate of preliminary engineering costs at a later council meeting.
• Approved a non-exclusive franchise fee agreement with Lake Country Power. The agreement also is subject to approval by Lake Country Power.
• Approved a request from the police department to be a member of the BCA secure website.
• Approved the addition of Richard Gordon and Adam Nori to the fire department roster. The council also approved the purchase of 1,000 feet of 5” hose for a fire truck. Costs will be paid from the fire savings account.