Work begins on water treatment plant, state bonding dollars still in the air

Work began earlier this month on the near-term water treatment plant for Bemidji’s drinking water, without bonding dollars secured from the state.

The Bemidji City Council during their meeting this evening will consider passing a resolution urging state lawmakers to pass the bill.

Language in the resolution points out that current interest rates are at an all-time low and that Bemidji has a vested interest in seeing a bonding bill passed.

The legislature has met for three special sessions so far and have not yet agreed to pass the bill.

During the August special session, the state was in the process of selling bonds, and could not take up any new bonding, as House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler explained last week.

The legislature plans to resume bonding bill discussions during the anticipated September special session.

Without bonding dollars, city utility customers could expect a rate hike to cover the costs of the water treatment plant.

The project in total is about $16 million, and the city has a bonding request that currently sits at around $10 million.

The treatment plant is to remove PFAs from the water, a chemical tied to the use of firefighting foam during training exercises at the Bemidji Regional Airport.

Here is the Bemidji City Council meeting packet, with meeting access instructions.

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