Isanti is gearing up for the opening of its new municipal liquor store.

During the Isanti City Council meeting Sept. 21, the council approved a special event permit to host a grand opening celebration for the new liquor store from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, through Saturday, Nov. 20. The new liquor store is located at 10 Sixth Ave. SE.

City Administrator Josi Wood explained no road closures are being requested and activities will take place within the parking lot and inside the store.

The grand opening celebration will consist of food trucks on site, inflatables, in-store tastings and other activities.

“The information will be marketed out so we can hopefully get the word out to everybody and we hope to have about 2,100 people come through,” Wood said. “And we’re going to have food trucks and some great things that will be free for people to enjoy.”

The new liquor store will be 12,604 square feet, with 7,200 square feet of retail space and 4,700 square feet of rail cooler, beer cave, back-storage and delivery space. The remaining space will be dedicated to mechanical, restrooms, office and break room space.

Isanti anticipates the store will add 50% in additional annual revenue. Revenue from the existing municipal liquor store and the new store will offset general city expenses.

The city’s current liquor store provides $350,000 in net profits to the city each year that reduces taxes to the residents and businesses. The new liquor store will offer an extensive collection of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic options.

Cambridge-Isanti School District referendum

Cambridge-Isanti Schools Superintendent Nate Rudolph and Director of Finance and Operations Chris Kampa gave a brief presentation and showed a video explaining the upcoming referendum vote.

The district has cut $8.5 million from the budget and 100 teachers and staff over the last three years. The district remains in the bottom 7% in the state in per student spending and funding, and is last in the Mississippi 8 Conference in spending.

On Nov. 2, those who live in the school district will head to the polls to vote on two questions.

The first question, if passed by voters, would increase its general education revenue by $565 per student and would generate $2.97 million in revenue annually. The district would use that revenue to hire and retain high-quality teachers and support students, which will help to reduce class size, maintain and improve student opportunities, and provide student supports.

If the first question passes, the second question on the Nov. 2 ballot would be applicable. The second question, if passed by voters, would increase its general education revenue by $121 per student, which would generate $636,208 in revenue annually. The district would use that revenue to support vocational technical education and college readiness by maintaining and expanding vocational technical and career classes; increasing opportunities for students to earn college credits; adding apprenticeships; providing training and mentoring that prepare graduates for success in careers and college; and supporting the district’s K-12 student achievement goals. In total, if the two questions are passed by the voters, it would raise $3.6 million annually for the district.

If the first question is passed by voters it will have a $95 annual tax impact, or $8 per month, on a residential home valued at $200,000. If the second question is passed by voters, it will have a $50 annual tax impact, or $4 per month, on a residential home valued at $200,000. If both referendum questions are approved by voters, it would have an annual tax impact of $145 per year, or $12 per month, for a residential home valued at $200,000.

Mayor Jeff Johnson voiced his support for the upcoming referendum.

“I, myself, am supportive,” Johnson said. “I have kids in the school district, and how do we know if Nate Rudolph and the gang, we’ll say, is going be able to improve our school district unless we give them that push? So that is potentially why I invited you personally to this meeting, because I think this information is vital to get out, not only to the county, the townships but the city of Isanti as well.”

Johnson said the school district needs the funding.

“Everybody always says — and I see it, whether it’s social media, emails, phone calls, text messages — why should we give them more money? I’ve heard that a bazillion times,”Johnson said. “You gave past teams, we’ll call it, money. You didn’t give this team money. And I think if everybody gave this team a fair shake, I think this team would shock everybody. It is less money than what was being asked for in the original referendum (from November 2020). I sure in the heck ain’t going to hem and haw over $100 for potentially my kids, the residents’ kids and potentially the future of the city. I will gladly go vote for this referendum.”

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