Isanti hires new liquor store manager

Isanti City Council
The Isanti City Council has named a new manager for the municipal liquor store.

Luke Reiter
[email protected]

The Isanti City Council has named a new manager for the municipal liquor store two months after terminating the previous manager over concerns about the store’s declining profit margins.

In the regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Council approved John Jacobi as liquor store manager. In the meeting Jacobi described himself as having 26 years of experience working in retail, including four years as the manager of G-Will Liquors in Oak Grove.

Jacobi will take over a position that has been vacant since the Council terminated the previous manager Dec. 7 after a long-standing debate on how to salvage the store’s shrinking profit margins. Finance Director Kristi Smith and Assistant City Administrator Irene Bauer have taken on managerial duties in the interim.

After the meeting Jacobi said while it would take time to get specifics, he did see room for improvement in the store.

“Basically I’m excited  to make some changes,” Jacobi said.

According to Jacobi his focus as a manager has been on maintaining a clean, organized atmosphere, which he intends to bring to Isanti’s store.

He looks to create a “more shoppable” environment and placing a renewed emphasis on meeting customer needs.

Jacobi will assume duties on Monday, March 7.

Pedestrian bridge stumbles over funding problems

Isanti residents hoping for a pedestrian bridge over Hwy. 65 will first have to figure out a way to bridge an estimated $200,000 budget shortfall.

The Council voted to table plans for the bridge until it is determined whether the remaining funds can be obtained through the Legacy Amendment that passed in 2008.

The project carries a $2.87 million price tag, however hopes for an additional $144,000 in federal funding have been lowered with the election of Congressman Chip Cravaack, who is widely expected to take a more frugal stance on spending than his predecessor, James Oberstar.

Mayor George Wimmer told the Council that although Isanti would probably not get a second chance at the bridge, the fact that the Council had previously decided not to break ground without having all funding in line made holding on to the project hard to justify.

“I think it’s time we do need to move on from this,” Wimmer said.

Wimmer also pointed out that although the money in the Parks and Recreation fund intended for the bridge cannot be used in the general fund, interest gained from the money set aside for the project could be transferred, thereby bolstering city finances during uncertain times.

The Council voted 4-1 to postpone its decision until word is received on Legacy Amendment funds, with Wimmer in dissent.

In other action, the Council:

• Set a public meeting for Tuesday, March 1 to gain input from Isanti residents on community services. The meeting will be held at City Hall with doors opening at 6 p.m. for anyone who wishes to inspect informational materials beforehand. Presentations and discussion will start at 7 p.m.

• Set an informational open house for Tuesday, March 8, for homeowners to find out more about the street improvements planned for this summer. Portions of Broadway Street W., 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Avenues S, and Elizabeth Street SW are planned for reconstruction, with an estimated assessment for homeowners of $4,800. An open hearing will also be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.