Council discusses budget issues during Monday meeting

The Bemidji City Council discussed the next year’s budget during their work session Monday.

Bemidji Fire Chief David Hoefer expressed that over the past eight years, without a deputy fire chief, he has been performing two jobs at once, and plans to retire in February if there is no funding for the deputy January 2021.

The budgets so far indicate that a deputy fire chief would not be added until July 2021.

The council also discussed additional $100,000 in Local Government Aid funding from the state, likely related to the annexation earlier this year, as well as COVID funding.

The city received over $1 million in CARES Act funding, which will cover un-budgeted COVID expenses such as PPE, cleaning supplies and barricades, as well as reimbursing staff time responding to COVID-19.

The preliminary budget and levy will be set in September, with the final budget and levy set in December. The city has a goal of a zero net tax rate increase.

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