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Commission ponders liquor license sale

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POLSON —  Polson commissioners discussed the sale of the city’s all beverage liquor license at the Jan. 21 meeting. 

They unanimously voted at the Sept. 15, 2014 meeting to declare the all-beverage license as surplus, according to Polson Finance Officer Cindy Dooley. That’s the first step necessary to sell the license. She also reported the last liquor license sold in Lake County went for $75,000 in December of 2014. The going price can fluctuate. In the past some sold for $10,000, Dooley said, with liquor licenses in 2006 and 2007 going for $75,000 to $100,000.

An idea tossed around was that Polson would apply for an on-site beer and wine license for the golf course, which could be sublet.   

Mark Shrives, Polson City Manager, said there are three ways to sell — advertise for a set price; go the traditional method and ask for sealed bids, setting a $55,000 minimum; or a live auction, also with a set reserve. 

Management’s recommendation is that the city hold a live auction with a $55,000 reserve, according to Shrives. 

When a person purchases an all beverage liquor license, that is only the first step. The buyer must apply to the Montana Department of Revenue, and that body must approve the sale. Local developer Dennis Duty and Commissioner Stephen Turner recommended pre-qualifying potential buyers. 

The commission took no action on the issue. 

In other business, commissioners approved an agreement for engineering services from Anderson-Montgomery Consulting, Inc., which is to rebid the downtown water project, according to Shrives.

Mayor Heather Knutson explained to attendees that the city is adjusting items on the agenda. 

During public comment time, she asked people who would like to speak to go to the podium, state their name and ward number or address, and only comment on items city commissioners would not address during that meeting. 

During city manager comments, Shrives said the City of Polson is only a couple of days away from online bill pay for utility bills. 

He also said Melissa Hornbein, staff attorney for the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission, would visit Polson on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. to talk to commissioners regarding the water compact. 

Shrives also noted the Democratic Party and the Republican Women are collaborating to provide information on the water compact. People can attend on Jan. 29 at the Johnny Arlee/Victor Charlo Theater on the Salish Kootenai College. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. with the program beginning at 7 p.m. 

The next meeting will be held Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at Polson City Hall.  

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