Mayor: State of Bemidji at a “crossroads”

Mayor of Bemidji Rita Albrecht gave her last State of the City address last night.

While the video of the council meeting is not currently available on the city of Bemidji’s website, a presentation and narrative is viewable, and an audio file is available as well.

Albrecht has served as Bemidji’s mayor for the past seven years, and in her eighth and final year, says the city’s upcoming infrastructure projects will present some challenges for the city.

“I proclaim that the city of Bemidji is at a crossroads. I say that because we have had a lot of past success, and a strong financial position. Looming ahead of us are some infrastructure needs that are quite expensive, and it is unknown how we are going to be able to afford those,” said Albrecht in a phone interview.

These projects include expansion of the wastewater treatment facility to meet state standards for a city of this size, and treating the PFAs in the city’s drinking water supply.

Rita Albrecht. Photo courtesy of the City of Bemidji.

In a resolution last night, the council did pass a measure that would outline a request for an additional half cent sales tax to partially fund those items, as well as partially fund capital needs at the Sanford Center.

Albrecht does not plan to run for Mayor this year, as she had previously announced she was seeking the DFL endorsement to run for Minnesota Senate District 5.

The mayoral position, as well as council member positions for Wards 1, 3 and 5, will be up this election year.

The filing period for those seats is May 19 through June 2 at 5 p.m.


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 events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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