Duluth Council to discuss tobacco sales, City Hall upgrades - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Duluth Council to discuss tobacco sales, City Hall upgrades

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The Duluth City Council will officially open the conversation into how to handle flavored tobacco product sales.

Backed by the American Lung Association and the Duluth School Board, the plan would mean flavored tobacco products could only be sold in businesses open to people 18 or older, like smoke shops. They couldn't be sold in the city's convenience stores.

People behind the proposal say flavored tobaccos are targeted specifically to young people, and moving them to 18-plus stores would limit a young person's ability to get them.

However, a convenience store operator we spoke with says the move would be detrimental to their business, even leading to layoffs or store closings.

"This is going to be taking revenue dollars away from Duluth, and don't get me wrong in anyway, I never want to put profits above people," Brandon Kaisersatt, VP of Operations at Short Stop Gas Stations said. "People are always first, but there are so many better ways of going about this that can obtain the same goals of this ordinance, and we are more than willing to work with the city councilors." 

Convenience stores would rather the city regulate tobacco sales by requiring an ID be scanned prior to a purchase.

The City Council will have their first reading of the ordinance Monday night, and could vote as early as their first meeting in February.

The Council will also consider spending $1.8 million dollars on fixing up City Hall.

If approved, that resolution would authorize the city to enter into an agreement with a Minneapolis-based general contractor.

Improvements to the 90-year old building include updating lighting, electrical and IT infrastructure, replacing carpeting, ceiling tiles and paint and improve underutilized space. 

Funding for the project would come from capital improvement plan bonds. 

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