Bemidji City Council to discuss ARP dollars, rental ordinance in meeting tonight

The Bemidji City Council will discuss how to spend $1.48 million in one-time funds during their meeting tonight.

According to a memo in the city packet, the city has already spent over $200,000 in America Rescue Plan funds, mostly on the restoration of the Paul & Babe Statues and around $20,000 for improvements at North Country Park.

Staff is recommending a one-time inflation adjustment payment that would total $290,000; $2,000 for each full-time staff member and $500 per permanent part-time staff member.

Another consideration would be possibly investing in a market rate compensation study for around $15,000.

The remaining ARP balance after those recommendations would be $1.18 million, which could potentially be used on a variety of capital projects, including infrastructure, all of which are acceptable uses under the federal government’s parameters.

ARP funds must be used or specifically earmarked with contracts in place by Dec. 31, 2024.

The council will also further discuss the rental ordinance amendments, but not in the formal reading process.

Council held a listening session last week that heard from nine community members, a number of which from the Headwaters Landlord Association.

Staff is now recommending proceeding with the ordinance amendments proposed by the ad hoc committee with one further amendment: requiring a copy of the rental inspection for the unit tenant.

The rental ordinance amendments went through two second readings and public hearings, but the process was terminated in December, pending further public input.

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