City to consider requesting new sales tax

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI–The Bemidji City Council will discuss the consideration of a special use sales tax for the upcoming legislative session during their work session Tuesday.

According to a memo from City Finance Director Ron Eischens, the current local sales tax of a half-percent pays principal and interest on the bonds sold to construct the Sanford Center.

The city would need legislative approval for any new tax.

Projects for the potential new tax include several items related to the Sanford Center’s improvement or use, funds for Visit Bemidji or a sports commission, and a new water treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant improvements.

The city’s wells may have more Perflouroalkyl chemicals, or PFAs, than state guidelines allow, and the city is already looking to raise rates for residential water customers to pay for a new water treatment plant.

Water samples were recently sent to the state for testing, but the city tested below state standards in 2017 when they started blending water from two wells.

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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