The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 2, 2013

Blue Earth, St. James among profitable municipal liquor stores


“Sales are definitely up, so that’s a positive, and we’re really tightening our budget for 2013.” 

Meanwhile, the Wells municipal continued to struggle in 2011, posting a $34,000 net loss following a $53,000 loss in 2010.

City officials have said the store has been beset by unforeseen capital improvement expenses such as roof repair and other infrastructure needs.

The city also had to transfer money out of its liquor fund to shore up city departments with budget shortfalls.

The auditor’s report said statewide in 2011 the combined net profit of all municipal liquor operations totaled $23.4 million, an increase of $1.7 million (8 percent) over 2010.

During 2011, the state’s munis transferred $20.1 million of their profits to other city funds. That represents a 20.8 percent increase over total net transfers made in 2010.

In 2011 Minnesota’s municipals reported a 16th consecutive year of record gross sales, totaling $317.2 million.

Thirty-six cities reported net losses for 2011, compared with 40 cities in 2010.

Minnesota municipalities were originally authorized to own and operate liquor establishments as a means of controlling sales of alcohol.

For many communities in rural Minnesota, municipal liquor operations provide access and convenience in areas that might be unable to attract privately-run ventures.

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