Bemidji City Council covers ice, police advisory and orderly annexation in first in-person meeting of 2021

The Bemidji City Council approved a number of measures during their meeting Tuesday.

The council will move forward with the creation of a police advisory committee.

The council will hold the first reading of an ordinance creating the committee during their meeting on July 19.

Chief of Police Mike Mastin presented a memo with some of the language of an initial charter, which can be adapted as the group decides on bylaws.

Councilmember Audrey Thayer expressed her optimism for the improvement of relations between the community and law enforcement.

Applications to join this committee will be announced in the near future.

The council will also move forward with annexing Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge so they may receive city water and sewer, as their septic system is aging.

The council was largely in agreement that ultimately, the city’s goal is to extend city services around the lake to protect it, as councilmember Josh Peterson expressed.

The council also held a discussion about possibly decommissioning the Neilson Reise Arena.

City Manager Nate Mathews will negotiate to extend the current partnership with the Bemidji Community Arena for another three years.

The partnership agreement, in place since March of this year, brings a city parks and rec worker to the arena, and Mathews said the extension would be in step with union contracts.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north-central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment, and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji and enjoys spending her spare time with her son Logan, daughter Brigid, and pets Vincent and Piper. She also loves reading, Star Trek, and gardening... badly.


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