Booze at the Box Car

In keeping with railroad theme, Box Car Liquors is new name for City liquor store on the highway

Box Car Liquors.

That will be the name of the City’s new liquor store that will eventually be located on U.S. Hwy. 14 in the former Food-n-Fuel building.

The Tracy City Council on Monday approved a motion and resolution to change the name of the store.

“In talking with the Liquor Store Committee and moving forward with this, we wanted to kind of come up with a theme for the liquor store,” City Administrator Kris Ambuehl said. “The proposed name is Box Car Liquors to go with the railroad theme like we have on so many other things in this town.”

The name change was unanimously approved by the Liquor Store Committee. Ambuehl said he has reserved the name with the Secretary of State Office; it will cost the City $50 to file a name change.

Councilman Tony Peterson asked if there were any other expenses related to the move. Ambuehl said there weren’t any other up-front tangible costs.

Construction has been ongoing in the interior of the building on Hwy. 14.


While on the subject of the liquor store, the council approved a motion to cut down a set of trees on the east side of the unused patio outside the liquor store. Ambuehl said the trees’ root systems are intruding on the basement on the west side of the building across the patio from the liquor store.

“You can see daylight in a couple spots where the roots are starting to separate some things,” Ambuehl said.

Ambuehl added that after checking into the issue he learned that it would cause more damage to the building if the City attempted to dig up the trees.

“They’ll quit growing, and we can dig down next to the building and stop those root sections,” he said, “without busting up the concrete. If we cut the tree down, we should be able to remove some of those roots and stop it from becoming a bigger problem than it already is.”

The work would be done by the Public Works Department.


Certified Public Accountant Chad Hess from Abdo Eick & Meyers presented the City of Tracy’s 2018 Financial Statement Audit. The City experienced an increase in the General Fund balance and has available resources to meet next year’s financial needs.

“You do have an adequate fund balance, but continue to build that if you can to prepare for a rainy day,” Hess told the council.

General Fund revenues, Hess said, typically come from two main sources: Local Government Aid and property taxes. Hess said those two typically come six months apart, so it’s important for the City to have adequate resources available to get through those long stretches.

Hess said that city revenues for 2018 came in over budget, mostly because of refunds and reimbursements that came in above what was budgeted. There were higher-than-expected expenditures that related to the July 2018 flood. He said the City should see a positive variance next year when FEMA dollars are awarded.

There were increases in the fund balance in the Library Trust ($68,622) and in the Economic Development Fund ($274,161). The reason for the latter, Hess said, is a result of the sale of Eastview Apartments.

The O’Brien Court Fund is doing “very well,” Hess said. There is no debt in this fund. He said the Orchard Lane Townhomes Fund is doing well, but when the debt service is factored in, there is a decrease in the fund balance.


The council approved a resolution for a payment of $527,177.75 to Reiner Contracting for a change order for work completed on the stabilization ponds.


EDA Coordinator Jeff Carpenter told the council that a second Broad Acres lot has been sold, meaning there are two left. The southwest and southeast lots have both been sold.

“Right now with the current amount of money we paid out of the EDA fund, we are pretty close to already breaking even with the two lots sold.”

Carpenter hopes to have one house built so an open house can be held over Labor Day Weekend.


Liquor store manager Tam Schons said things “are going well” at the store. Sales in May 2019 were at $63,389, compared to $57,874 in May 2018. Sunday sales, she added, were doing well and were steady. On Thursday, two different point-of-sale vendors will be at the store. The City can decide to either get a new system or upgrade its current one.

“We won’t change systems until we move,” Schons said. “We just want to find out what they have. The system that we have now is old and needs to be updated or replaced.”

Hess said the recent audit shows the liquor store is “basically breaking even” from a pure cash standpoint. The average income before transfers in Minnesota, he said, is 7.4%, while the City of Tracy is at 5.8%.


Tracy Public Works Director Shane Daniels said, weather depending, there will be some patching of roads around town done in the coming days. He said there won’t be any “cold mix” available until fall, so a “hot mix” will be used. He said the ideal temperature would be in the 80s, as the mix would have to be transferred from Marshall.

“You don’t much time to work with it,” he said.