Bemidji’s Water Treatment plant included in House bonding proposal

The Minnesota House unveiled their bonding proposal.

According to the legislation, it includes $12.3 million for Bemidji’s water treatment plant.

Parts of the plant, according to city meetings, will be under construction as soon as this year, and will in total cost around $16 million.

City Finance Director Ron Eischens says without those bonding dollars, the cost of the water treatment plant will likely be borne by city utility payers. House District 5A Representative John Persell anticipates some contention between House DFL-ers and Republicans. 

Daudt, the House Minority Leader, tweeted earlier this month that House Republicans would not support a bonding bill unless Gov. Walz ends the emergency declaration. The bonding bill requires three-fifths support in the House to pass.

The city of Bemidji was also seeking a local option sales tax, but reports from the legislature indicate that any local option sales taxes will likely not proceed this year.

The total bonding proposal from the DFL-controlled House is just under $2 billion. Republicans in the Senate have been pushing for a bonding package of less than $1 billion, even before the latest state budget forecasted a deficit of over $2 billion.

The water treatment plant is being constructed to bring the city of Bemidji’s drinking water into guidelines, issued by the Minnesota Department of Health, of acceptable levels of perflouralkyl chemicals, known as PFAs or PFCs.

These chemicals, largely produced by manufacturing giant 3M, are linked to firefighting foam used in training exercises at the Bemidji Regional Airport decades ago.

MDH believes these chemicals can have damaging long-term health effects, especially for bottle-fed infants, nursing mothers and pregnant women.

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