Pequot Lakes: Council OKs additional reduction in liquor license fees

The northern part of Rasmussen Road gets a first layer of tar Monday morning, June 8. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Seven liquor license holders in Pequot Lakes received another fee reduction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut or partially shut their businesses since March.

The city council on Tuesday, June 2, approved tobacco and liquor license renewals, which run July 1-June 30 each year, as well as an additional 50% reduction in the renewal liquor license fees for seven establishments.

That will result in an additional reduction in fees of $3,485 for the city. The council previously reduced renewal fees for March-June, which cost the city $3,485 in reduced fees.

Council member Jerry Akerson said that amount was excessive, and the city is in business too.

“This isn’t fair to the city either. This affects us,” he said, noting he was OK with a discount, but not what equates to two-thirds of the yearly license fee.


Council member Mimi Swanson said: “They’ve definitely taken a hit. We want to keep them open. We don’t want them to fail.”

“We don’t want the city to fail either,” Akerson said.

After hearing how the rest of the council voted, Akerson reluctantly agreed to the fee reduction. The vote was 4-0 with council member Scott Pederson absent June 2.

Regarding a proposal to temporarily close a city parking lot and a block of Government Drive to offer restaurants additional outdoor seating, the council learned four businesses contacted thanked the city for thinking of them, but they declined. Government Drive businesses offering food believed the parking areas are important.

The council conducted its regular meeting online via Zoom. Mayor James Tayloe, council member Cheri Seils, City Administrator Nancy Malecha, City Clerk/Treasurer Angie Duus and City Engineer Tim Houle, with Widseth engineering firm, were present at city hall.

Road project

The Rasmussen Road and South Washington Avenue improvement project is ahead of schedule, City Engineer Tim Houle, with Widseth engineering firm, told the council, saying the project has gone fast and RL Larson Excavating has done good work.

The project is expected to be substantially complete by July 2 with final completion by Aug. 14.

“Pequot Lakes is open for business,” Houle said, saying Main Street from the four-lane Highway 371 interchange to the stoplight is wide open.


He thanked businesses and residents along the project area for their patience during construction.

Heart of the Good Life

After meeting in closed session to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the purchase of property in the Heart of the Good Life development, the council reopened the meeting and authorized Malecha to draft a purchase agreement for the sale of approximately four acres in the development.

The land is immediately west of the city’s Public Works Facility, and the prospective buyer is Xcel Energy, which plans to build a new service center.

In other business June 2, the council:

  • Approved the 2019 audit report after a presentation from Ashley Meagher, of Schlenner Wenner & Co.

  • Acknowledged Nick Roy’s successful completion of his six-month probationary period as maintenance worker with the Public Works Department.

  • Acknowledged operators from the Pine River Area Sanitary District for the services they provide the community after learning the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency awarded the city’s wastewater treatment system a certificate of commendation for the past year. The system has received this award every year it’s been eligible for it.

“I’d like to personally recognize the ongoing professional efforts of our contracted operators from Pine River Area Sanitary District,” Public Works Director Jason Gorr wrote in a memo to the council. “Their training, professionalism and great work ethic help keep our city’s residents, environment and local businesses safe.”

  • Approved the 2020-2024 amended public works joint powers agreement with Loon Lake Township.

  • Approved a refuse haulers license for Waste Management.

  • Endorsed the Lake Country Cares campaign, a regional COVID-19 safety best practices communication campaign for employers and citizens.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads