EDA talks about trust between elected officials and paid staff

A discussion about the role of Northfield’s City Council versus the city’s paid staff in decision-making emerged during the Economic Development Authority meeting on Thursday morning.

The topic came up when the board members addressed the process of building a new municipal liquor store to replace the old one on Fifth Street.

“This is a political hot potato,” Steve Engler, who joined the development authority in September, said after the meeting. “I was trying to clarify who was making decisions.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has told the city the liquor store cannot continue to operate without significant renovation. Facing an ultimatum, the council decided in August that constructing a new store would probably be more cost-effective than making repairs. So, it asked city staff to issue a request for proposals for a new store.

In the past, controversy surrounded the decision to build anew when Mayor Lee Lansing allegedly attempted to convince the council to approve construction at a location that could have resulted in his financial benefit.

“You said this is politically charged; it shouldn’t be, it’s a liquor store,” James Pokorney, city councilor, told Engler at the meeting.

Pokorney added later that the decision might have been political at one time if the mayor had indeed done something inappropriate, but it should not be any longer.

Joel Walinski, interim city administrator, told the members of the development authority about the status of the decision to build a new liquor store. The city’s request for proposals brought in seven responses that could fit the requirements City Council set for the new store. They are still not available for public viewing.

Walinski said the Economic Development Authority’s Infill Committee, a group of city staff, the Northfield Enterprise Center and Donnelly Development will help assign points to each of the proposals that fall within the council’s requirements. The proposals with the most points would be more highly recommended. (Walinski, Brian O’Connell, community development director, and Steve DeLong, liquor store manager, would form the group of city staff).

Engler said he was unsure if it is best to keep the proposals secret from the public while the different groups review them. He also was uncertain if the City Council should take recommendations from staff when perhaps all council needs is a little more basic information about the proposals.

“Aren’t you elected to decide certain things?” Engler asked Pokorney.

Pokorney said City Council has reviewed liquor store proposals in the past but made no decision because the elected officials needed further professional assistance to feel comfortable making the right choice. He said he believed the liquor store presents an opportunity for City Council to benefit from trusting the recommendations of city staff.

“There are people who say ‘We can’t let the staff decide, they’ve got some kind of devious reasoning,'” Pokorney said after the meeting. “I’m tired of it. What we’re asking staff to do is a supportive effort, not a legislative effort. It’s what we hire them to do.”

Following the meeting, Walinski said the proposals would present City Council with a wide range of options. Some of them would allow Northfield to buy undeveloped or developed land and/or buildings and some offered to lease land or buildings. The scoring groups will rate the proposals based on cash flow opportunities and pedestrian access, among other criteria.

Update 11/14 3 p.m.: This afternoon, I made some grammatical changes to the story above.

Update 11/17 12 p.m.: This is a document showing the score sheet for the proposals (PDF).

This is the email from Mr. Walinski, which contained the score sheet attachment:

“Hello Bonnie –

I’ve attached the Liq. Store RFP Document as requested. I’ve also provided you with the Scoring Sheet we will be using to rate the proposals that were submitted. This document was previously provided to the EDA and all interested parties attending the Pre-Submission conference on October 22, 2008.

In answer to your question on the discussion at the EDA Meeting on Thursday, this was the second time this item had been discussed at a EDA Board meeting, the initial discussion was to see if there was interest from the EDA to participate ( October 23, 2008 Item 8.b). The discussion on Thursday was to provide an update on the process, reconfirm the role of the EDA Infill Committee, and make members aware of the timeline.

Regarding your other questions concerning the liquor store, the liquor store questions and planning has been ongoing for at least four years. The Council, residents through public comments, and consultants have had multiple discussions on should the City run a municipal liquor store and at this time the consensus of the council is yes – primarily for the added revenue to the general fund and funding support to support the taskforce working on the prevention of Youth Drug and Alcohol. Another reason given is the City is more in control of the sale of alcohol to minors and advertising of alcohol to minors by having a “muni”. If you need more information on this I would suggest reviewing the tapes of multiple council meetings and work sessions where this item was discussed.

In regards to using the existing store location, making the required improvements and completing the deferred maintenance, this is the base position from which the proposals submitted will be will be judged. We do have good information of the cash flow and business model at the existing site and fairly good estimates of improvements needed and costs. One of the items we will be reviewing is comparing cash flow models and costs of a new location with the existing site. The benefit of moving through an RFP process is that we now have better numbers for what a new store development, purchase of property, or leasing a location would cost given the proposal submissions This should help staff make a recommendation as per the council request. Ultimately more specific information should help the Council and general public to make an informed decision.

Hope this helps –

Joel”

78 thoughts on “EDA talks about trust between elected officials and paid staff”

  1. Again, great reporting Bonnie.

    Finally, this “hot potato” is being readdressed. Lets hope the ethical issues within the hot potato get resolved before decisions are made. It really sounds like Steve Engler is getting to the issues. Well done Steve, I expect.

  2. Bonnie: I am puzzled by the statement “which could be more cost effective than making repairs, according to the council’s decision” re: the OSHA violations. Obviously not a cost benefit analysis position.
    There are two corrections that have been stated by OSHA, as far as I’ve heard in public discussion: 1. an electric panel that needs to be moved, and 2. a passage conflict with a stairway and a conveyer belt. I recall the cost to correct these two items to be between $150,000 and $200,000, obviously insignificant compared to the approx. 3 million estimated for a new store. I think there is also a needed roof replacement, but if that was not done at the time of the hailstorm, then it must have been put off on purpose, i.e. expecting a new store.

    Since the current store is a prime location, the building has significant value, and the repairs should be done to maximize the sale of the building for the city, regardless of whether a new site is picked.

    I am surprised at J. Pokorney’s statements about this no longer being a “political” issue. I don’t think there are many citizens who have forgotten the anguish of the last two years, much of it generated around this issue.

    The lack of information on the possible sites is also difficult; let’s hope one of the sites is not 618 Division … that would be beyond any concept of irony… advancing into the theatre of the absurd!

    Thanks again for a very good report; it will be interesting to compare to that of the NFNEWS. Generally, I think you’ve done an exceptional job of bringing the issues involved in a story to the public attention, for their contemplation.

  3. Thanks Tracy, Peter and Kiffi,

    I’ve called Mr. Walinski to ask why the EDA discussed the liquor store yesterday and why the City Council make its decision to build a new liquor store instead of making repairs or getting out of the liquor business. I’m also checking on OSHA’s cost of repairs figure.

  4. Bonnie,
    Are the “requirements” for the new store available for public review despite the seven responses to the RFP not available at this point? When were the “requirements” developed and by whom?

  5. “The are still not available for public viewing. ”

    “… he was unsure if it is best to keep the proposals secret from the public while the different groups review them.”

    This is fundamentally wrong!

    These documents should be in the public domain as soon as the deadline for submission has passed. The public should be able to comment on each one and the extent to which taxpayer dollars are at risk, or will benefit someone directly should be fully transparent.

  6. Some interesting minimum requirements from the RFP:

    – Property location on or within one quarter mile of State Trunk Highway 3 or State Trunk Highway 19, and so situated in the sole discretion of the city to be in plain view of drive-by traffic.

    – Property is located in an area which is currently or proposed to be zoned C1 or C2 in the City of Northfield zoning code or located in a area zoned C3 within one quarter mile of an area zoned C1 or C2.

    What do people think of these?

    Some interesting competitive requirements in the RFP:
    – Preference will be given to sites that are highly visible, attract drive by traffic, have site access not obstructed by other buildings, grades, or natural barriers.

    – Preference will be given to sites located near other complimentary businesses, other retail operations on adjacent property, and a grocery store located within ¼ mile.

    What do people think of these?

  7. Are there minimum building size requirements, minimum parking requirements and other criteria?
    The locations seem pretty obvious.
    It just seems that under the circumstances, the current council should table the discussion until the new mayor and council are seated. The decision shouldn’t be political, but sadly, there is no way to get around the controversy until a new mayor is in place.

  8. First of all, I totally agree with David Koenig’s POV.

    This ‘project’ has morphed a bit since it was at the council, and the council in frustration, saying they had not been able to accomplish a successful plan(J. Pokorney’s comment) turned it over to the Staff.

    The council had three or four criteria,one of which was that the new location must be in the Downtown, which they defined as C-1 or C-2. ***There wasn’t wording about the distance from hwys 3/19; that must have appeared after the staff took the project over, i.e. in the RFP, but I am certain that wording was not in the council original criteria.

    So… would not a BIG question be: if the criteria were set by the council, and the criteria are now different then when the council publicly discussed them, several times, when did the criteria change and how was approval of that change given by council?

    There is no way this is not going to be an ongoing ‘mess’, and if it is being pushed through in December before the new council gets sworn in … given that most of them said it was not a priority expense now … then I hope they (new council) remember that they can undo anything this council does.
    BUT … here we get into that very political numbers game of : if the old council, the three men, vote as a bloc, as they have been wont to do, then it will only take one of the new councilors voting with them to achieve a winning vote.

    Where is the League of Women Voters when you need them ? with their strong positions on the use of cost benefit analyses, and best management practices for gov’t ?

    Good Luck to the ‘newbies’; they’re going to start off with a platter full!

  9. Kiffi wrote,

    if the old council, the three men, vote as a bloc, as they have been wont to do, then it will only take one of the new councilors voting with them to achieve a winning vote.

    Another way of presenting that would be to say, “The three continuing members of the Council appear to be in agreement on the issue, and it may be possible to reach a final agreement on the liquor store soon.”

    Personally, I look forward to the day when the liquor store issue is finally settled.

  10. It would seem that the RFP minimum requirements are not really minimums at all. They are written so widenly a semi can be driven through them. If C1 and C2 were the intended locations, then the criteria really undermines this intent. It practically says you can go anywhere just as long you fit the competitive requirements. Not knowing the lead up, it would seem we are opening up the location to fit highway passby traffic. Was this the intent of the City Council & EDA? Did the City Council & EDA view the criteria before being made public in the RFP?

    Has City staff been approached lately by individuals to make their property available?

  11. I wonder how many of the citizens in Northfield will “speak up”, if after the complicated scoring and voting by selection committee members ends, we are told the the “best place” for the new liquor store is the Just Foods co-op site? Political issue? “Hot potato”?

  12. Patrick,
    It would be very wise for the City Council to make a public policy decision that will:

    1. Involve a decision to buy land and build a new store.
    2. Allow a public referendum for these decisions.
    3. Create public financing for such a decision.

    I for one would like to have a say one whether my taxes dollars will go towards buying private or public land and to build a new store.

    This issue has such bad publicity and terrible twist and turns, that City residents need to be involved in decisions to bring closure once and for good.

  13. Under the circumstances, with just six weeks left in this administration, it would make sense for the council to table this and let the new council make the decision. Sadly, there is no way to untangle this decision from the mayor’s legal problems and the politics of the last four years. For example, what if the current owners of the vacant hardware store make a proposal. Should they be eliminated from consideration? And if they were, would they then sue?
    The new council needs the freedom of a clean slate. Yes, the decision has dragged on, but it shouldn’t take long for the new council to reach a decision. At this point, there probably is no decision that will be popular. I think I’d ask the Lakeville council and staff for advice. They really know how to run their business successfully and they’ve gone through the relocation and building process. Perhaps they’d do a neighborly critique of the proposals here.

  14. Peter,
    This seems to be exactly the kind of thing that should be decided by our elected representatives. Most of the candidates took some position in describing their capital improvement priorities during the campaign period, and we have elected them to make these decisions for us.

    Looking at today’s Nfld News (print edition), the plan for your point #3 is: “the project… will be constructed using bond revenue repaid with liquor store profits.”

    Steve,
    My understanding is that the city has solicited offers from various landowners who have offered their land to the city for a liquor store site. If the co-op site is one of the proposals, it would only be because the owner of the building has proposed it.

  15. Hear, Hear ! Peter!
    There is simply no way that this issue can NOT be a political or hot potato issue.

    There have been lawsuits against councilors by mayor, intense power struggles between staff and elected officials, reputations lost/destroyed, information hidden, alluded to or misdirected… The issue of the liquor store has been one of the central foci of the drama , accusation, and extreme losses of trust over the last two years.

    It would be an extreme case of denial to say that this can now be resolved in any ‘normal’ manner; it will take extraordinary openness, transparency, and process which is beyond ANY reproach to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Pushing it through this council will only exacerbate the bad feelings about process that are already there.

    Repair the darn building, and let the whole situation calm down, settle out , and wait out community angst and economic climate; then look at it in a couple of years with a different cast of characters.

    Who is pushing so hard for this to happen NOW (decision in Dec?) when we have a new council coming on board, most of whom said the liquor store was not a priority for them?

    Don’t start the new group out with the biggest mess of the recent past.

  16. Patrick,
    Yes, decided by the City Council, but with the support of the general public through a referendum. How many people want their taxes $ spent on a property and possible new building for a liquor store?

    Whether the bonds are paid back by the store profits does not matter, it is still City of Northfield money, not specifically the liquor store. Perhaps the profits should go towards paying bonds for a new library or addition, or some other worthy community asset higher up on the CIP priority list. This liquor store issue has two many twists to be swepted under the carpet so quickly. I would like a broad policy approach to this issue.

  17. Peter W uses ‘public’ six times in his post above. Amen!

    The last use is as part of the word ‘publicity’. Can this council possibly be so tone deaf and oblivious to the publicity around the last process they used on the liquor store? Is their understaning of how it has undermined confidence in them and in Northfield so complete that they would engage in bad process all over again?

    I was stunned when they continued to consider the Mayor’s property the first time because it was so obviously inappropriate to do so. I cannot believe they would repeat their horrendous process by keeping all of the proposals non-public except for the single one staff decides is best.

    Is this reality?

    Someone please tell me that there is a public disclosure, somewhere, of all proposals so that the public can comment in advance and not just on the one proposal pre-ordained by the staff. If it is only after the choices have been narrowed to one, then public input is moot.

    David L has argued on other discussions that there is too much public input and deciding issues like this is what council members have been elected to do. Frankly, if this is the process they have chosen to follow on this project, I have zero confidence in their ability to discern the best proposal.

    This issue should only be handled by the new council, who have been given a statement of faith by the voters….and only after public input on all of the options.

  18. I’m confused. According to another News article, Finance Director Kathleen McBride has warned against bonding for the HRA Spring Creek Commons during the economic downturn. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be similar caution about bonding for a new liquor store.

    Am I missing something? Is there a difference in the kind of bonds for the two projects?

    The HRA has decided to defer developing the Commons in favor of using a grant and other money toward a foreclosure program. Why couldn’t the council defer a decision on replacing the liquor store and use the ($120,000 in 2007) profits to upgrade to meet OSSIA requirements?

  19. Jane,
    The City Council could use the current profits from the liquor store to meet OSHA requirements for the existing building. There is more in play here. Obviously, some lobbying is going on, but at whose expense? Are we back at the ethical issues…again.

  20. Jane: I had noticed the same article in the paper re: the finance directors advice about bonding during an poor economic climate.
    This is one of my problems not just with the city hall information but the News’s reporting. i.e., you would think that conflict in bonding advice would generate an editorial comment. Aside from the main point … however another reason why people are often confused.

    I like David K’s level of … may I say ‘outrage’ … David? I’ll ask again, who is pushing this stupidity at this time?

    It doesn’t seem like Mr. Walinski’s style; he has appeared to be very sensible. Are there councilors who just cannot understand how this liquor store issue has damaged this community? And you can’t lay that ALL at the Mayor’s feet;if there were inappropriate behaviors the council needed to get it in the open at the time they occurred, instead of ID’ing the 600 Division property as their preferred site for close to two years.

    What kind of lack of understanding of the community do these current councilors have that they would make this all such a convoluted issue again, and then exacerbate it by trying to push it through before the new councilors are seated?

  21. Just one further comment: The article in the Saturday NFNews was by-lined by Suzanne Rook, but she was not the reporter who was there, as I understand; it was Ariel Emery who was there.
    So now we have ‘reporters’ writing articles about meetings they did not witness, with no accreditation to information gathered by another reporter?

    The article also says” The News requested a list of the proposed sites, but hadn’t yet received the listing”. Well … if they do receive the list and the public doesn’t, then is that infamous leak from city hall to the paper ‘dripping’ again?

  22. As David mentions above, there is something very wrong here. The proposals should be available to the public once the closing date has passed. Perhaps there were errors or omissions on them, I did notice the waivers etc. I wonder if they were all valid based on the submittal criteria in the RFP.

  23. Bonnie –

    I’m wondering about your description of the Councilor’s statement regarding the role of the Staff in the decision-making process.

    As I recall, at least at one point, there were, I think, four criteria, for evaluating potential sites for the liquor store.

    If, as it is rumored, there are eight sites being considered for a new liquor store, then I would think that what the Councilor was saying was that the Staff has been directed to rank the eight sites by their “score” on the four criteria and present this ranking to the Council.

    The Council could then vote to move forward on the top-ranked site, or argue that other factors were more important in the decision-making process, or move and vote in favor of relocating the liquor store on top of the Ames Mill where it would be as visible as Malt-O-Meal’s Christmas Tree.

    Personally, and I am speaking entirely for myself and not for any group existing, planned, or imagined, I think the liquor store decision-making process reflects the bass-ackwards approach apparently favored by some leaders in our community.

    More specifically, if the decision is being made based on the financial anaylsis for a new liquor store that I saw at Council meeting approximately eighteen months ago, I am absolutely certain that the new liquor will end up losing money instead of making money.

    I hope that if the incoming Council is given the opportunity to make the decision on this potential project, they will not take the approach to this process of children choosing between eight sweets in a candy store but will rather run, and repeatedly vet, at least three scenarios of cost-benefit analyses for their preferred economic model of a new liquor store before spending any more money on site search consultants.

    Doubling the size of the hen house for the goose that lays the golden egg has always struck me as a questionable concept.

    – Ross

  24. Griff,

    To get broader perspective on citizens’ opinions, how about adding two more choices to your straw poll:

    * Do the OSHA-required renovations to the current store and continue operating at that location

    * Exit the liquor business altogether

  25. Who came up with the criteria for the RFP? I don’t believe all the details were in the criteria the last few times around.

    I share Peter W.’s concerns expressed in his comment #8, especially the visible/drive-by criteria. I would hope that any new municipal buildings in Northfield would reflect best practices in site planning and design; emphasizing a building that is “visible” to traffic on a state highway going 50mph presupposes a type and scale of building and signage which probably would not.

  26. The following is an e-mail Mr. Walinski sent me over the weekend that might answer some questions:

    Hello Bonnie –

    I’ve attached the Liq. Store RFP Document as requested. I’ve also provided you with the Scoring Sheet we will be using to rate the proposals that were submitted. This document was previously provided to the EDA and all interested parties attending the Pre-Submission conference on October 22, 2008.

    In answer to your question on the discussion at the EDA Meeting on Thursday, this was the second time this item had been discussed at a EDA Board meeting, the initial discussion was to see if there was interest from the EDA to participate ( October 23, 2008 Item 8.b). The discussion on Thursday was to provide an update on the process, reconfirm the role of the EDA Infill Committee, and make members aware of the timeline.

    Regarding your other questions concerning the liquor store, the liquor store questions and planning has been ongoing for at least four years. The Council, residents through public comments, and consultants have had multiple discussions on should the City run a municipal liquor store and at this time the consensus of the council is yes – primarily for the added revenue to the general fund and funding support to support the taskforce working on the prevention of Youth Drug and Alcohol. Another reason given is the City is more in control of the sale of alcohol to minors and advertising of alcohol to minors by having a “muni”. If you need more information on this I would suggest reviewing the tapes of multiple council meetings and work sessions where this item was discussed.

    In regards to using the existing store location, making the required improvements and completing the deferred maintenance, this is the base position from which the proposals submitted will be will be judged. We do have good information of the cash flow and business model at the existing site and fairly good estimates of improvements needed and costs. One of the items we will be reviewing is comparing cash flow models and costs of a new location with the existing site. The benefit of moving through an RFP process is that we now have better numbers for what a new store development, purchase of property, or leasing a location would cost given the proposal submissions This should help staff make a recommendation as per the council request. Ultimately more specific information should help the Council and general public to make an informed decision.

    Hope this helps –

    Joel

  27. Maybe I can get someone from the City Council to talk a little bit about the liquor store criteria before tonight’s meeting begins.

    Oh, and Ross-the staff and elected officials will be involved in the scoring process.

  28. I just looked at the score sheet for the submitted properties, as linked to by Bonnie… (thank you Bonnie)
    What the ho-tel is going on?
    1. The EDA was told the sites were privileged information; see various comments above…
    2. It appears that 618 Division is one of the sites from the NDDC (developer NOT the downtown organization) ownership.
    3. Given the complexity of the score sheet with reference to things like environmental issues/pollution, etc there is no way this sheet could be completed without hours of information discovery and discussion.
    4. , 5., 6., 7., &8 …. there is little point in laying out all the additional flaws in this process; ie the evaluating of “developer capability” that is a total unknown to anyone filling out the score sheet.

    This is the biggest embarrassment to the city’s process yet … All the controversy about this liquor store, and its site and possible conflicts, and the council’s inability to deal with it in any productive manner resulting finally in Councilor Pokorney’s ‘throwing up his hands’ and turning it over to staff to resolve…

    If there weren’t so many tragedies involved it would be a joke; it IS a farce… ( by definition): A Ridiculous Sham.

  29. After reviewing all the comments from the past several months I now believe that this is the perfect time for the City to get out of the liquor business. We have seen this council self destruct under the weight of this debate. Now, the debate begins anew with the same old script of mistrust. Isn’t it time to bring in a business that needs to make money in order to survive and let them provide this area with alcoholic beverages?
    In my experience, private enterprise beats governmental entities every time when it comes to running a business. Here is where we need to find out what ‘best practices’ dictate in bringing in a new liquor business to Northfield. What kind of money would they pay to secure an on-sale liquor license? In addition to paying for an annual license a private business like a liquor store would have to pay real estate taxes and that should also be taken into account.
    Finally, is it worth $125 of income per year when you consider all the time this has taken and rancor that this has produced? Lets get out of the Booze Biz and concentrate on building a better city for all of our citizens.

  30. Thanks Bonnie!

    Joel W says the public can make a more informed decision. Does that mean that the public will see all proposals or just the one they deem the best?

    If it is just one, what ‘decision’ will be public be more informed to make?

  31. Dan,

    I agree! And the city can still earn a revenue stream by restricting the number of licenses and capturing a percentage of sales as the license fee (unless this is somehow prohibited by law).

    If the math is done well, which Joel W seems to say they can do, the City should be able to figure out what % of revenues would need to be charged to make at least as much as if the City ran the store using present volumes.

    It frees the City from having to do capital maintenance, from OSHA problems, from any potential liabilities in selling a controlled substance (the City may be exempt from liability) and could free staff for other work of the city government.

    The City can control the consumption of alcohol by rigorous checking and enforcement of local laws.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the City Staff at the liquor store. They are very helpful and very friendly. I think they do a great job. But, if the issue is about providing $ to the general fund and controlling alcohol consumption, this can be done without the City owning and maintaining the physical plant (store).

  32. Bonnie: Am I right in reading the scoring system to conclude that only 20% of the scoring is on revenue projections, and 20% on the costs?

    Is there any factor that gives weight to downtown locations over more productive Highway 3 or 19 locations?

  33. We heard at the council meeting tonight that they will get a recommendation at their December 8 meeting. If the word isn’t out already, check the council’s agenda on the city web site late the week before to see what the staff has prepared following the rating routine.

    If people have concerns about the process, it doesn’t do much good to confine comments to this thread! Go to the meeting and tell them what you think!

  34. Thank you Dan Freeman and David Koenig for your comments and questions about whether the city should be in the liquor business anyway. I don’t think it should be, but at least the city could do an honest cost benefit analysis to compare public vs. private sales as David suggests. Continuing on a path only because that is the way things have always been done is never a good idea.

  35. Although it may affect the City’s decision to choose our office site, it would also be wise for the City to conduct a cost/benefit analysis to see how much it will cost to have the liquor store downtown versus other sites.

  36. It’s time for a game of Guess the Locations!

    These are pretty obvious:

    Q-Block Partners = Q-Block
    Mendota Homes = The Crossing
    New Division Development Corp: = old Lansing Hardware

    But these four?

    Northfield Development (Reese-Schmidt)
    A.K. Kayoum
    Virginia Gleason
    Daryl Knutson

  37. Griff: the other locations:
    1.NF development may be the corner which is ‘kitty-korner’ from the existing Muni, although there were problems expressed before with the size, as being too small , and the DNR would not allow the existing building to be torn down and rebuilt next to the River, because of new regulations. This site includes the parking lot between the corner building and Just Food, which rents their location from NF Development.
    2. A.K. Khayoum is the owner of the grey building on the west side of hwy 3, at 3rd street, where the Three Pines gift shop, Cof C, etc are located. AK was the owner of the former Byzantine Restaurant.
    3. Virginia Gleason property is the only one I don’t know.
    4. Daryl Knutson’s property is the yellow/brown buildings on Water street which were the original Nf Hospital. I think the cross street is Eighth. This property was offered for consideration to the city before this formal RFP process, as were some of the others.

    The City Attorney said again last night that the process had to be a closed session at all levels, because there would be “offers and counter offers”; however I’m not sure that there are “offers and counter offers” in these RFPs.

    I would still like to know what entity is pushing for this decision to be made before the New council is seated. I still have to believe, until it is proven otherwise, that for whoever the ‘motivator’ is .. the ‘motivation’ is the lack of interest expressed by the majority of the newly elected council members.

  38. Despite the negotiations being closed to the public, which is correct, the submitted proposals should be available to the public as of the closing date. It is pure nonsense they are not made available. This is another mistake in the process and needs to be rectified asap.

  39. David L., I had three immediate responses to your question #42. Take your pick:

    Response #1: Because that isn’t the only criterion that was listed by the City Council in the RFP

    Response #2: Easy. City staff can simply adjust the projected revenues so that they’re highest for the location they favor.

    Response #3: You know for sure where that is?

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