City council signals joint meeting with Northern Township to discuss avenues for extending service without annexation

The Bemidji City Council further discussed options for extending city sewer and water to Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge and beyond ahead of Beltrami County’s planned construction on Birchmont Beach Road in 2024.

Northern Township has a $5 million federal grant for infrastructure construction on the north side of Lake Bemidji.

Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge is under monitoring by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a failing septic system. The resort has received a number of extensions from the MPCA to address the issues of raw sewage seeping from one of the septic drain fields.

Northern Township official Jess Frenzel was present in the galley for this approximately one-hour discussion on the various opinions offered by council members.

Ron Johnson spoke on the city’s history of connecting Lake Irving and Birchmont Drive to city services and emphasized looking at the lake as a whole picture.

Council member Lynn Eaton said the sticking point here is deviating from city policy to connect without annexation.

Council member Emelie Rivera motioned her support for an MOU for quick action to protect the lake .

Ultimately, the council reached a consensus to add a resolution to the agenda next week, inviting Northern Township to a separate joint meeting.

Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

© 2020 HBI Radio Bemidji, LLC d/b/a Paul Bunyan Broadcasting 502 Beltrami Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601 This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area