City council to discuss finances during work session

The Bemidji City Council will discuss finances during their work session this Monday.

City Finance Director Ron Eischens presented in February what next year’s budget might look like before the COVID crisis was.

As this year’s bonding bill continues to be up in the air, city utility customers may have to anticipate a rate increase to pay for the water treatment plant.

‘Without state bonding dollars, the city may have to take out their own bonds to cover the cost of construction, and payments for those would come from the utility fund.

Eischens, in the submitted presentation, said for next year’s budget, a target of a zero tax rate increase if property value across the city remains the same.

Click here for the work session agenda, virtual meeting access instructions and Eischen’s presentation.

The water treatment plant is around a $16 million infrastructure project, which will be constructed in two phases. The first phase is scheduled to begin this year.

The plant will be designed to remove PFAs, and other minerals, from the city’s drinking water supply.

The PFAs are tied to the use of a firefighting foam used in training exercises at the Bemidji Regional Airport decades ago.

PFAs, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, can have long-term health affects and should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women, and bottle fed infants.

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 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!

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