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Annexation dispute between city, Bemidji Township to continue

BEMIDJI — The Bemidji City Council’s rejection of a mediated settlement agreement with Bemidji Township on Monday night will bring the issue back to court.

The township’s lawyer, John Steffenhagen of Edina-based Hellmuth & Johnson, said a conference call is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 17 in Beltrami County District Court.

Steffenhagen said he isn’t sure what will be discussed in that call. But, he said, the township plans on filing a motion asking the court to enforce the mediated settlement agreement reached early Friday that would allow Bemidji Township to leave the annexation and joint powers agreements.

"At that point, I think the court, if the matter is not resolved is going to set the date…to hear the motion to compel the settlement," Steffenhagen said.

The city of Bemidji’s attorney, Jim Thomson of Minneapolis-based Kennedy & Graven, declined to comment Tuesday on what their response may be.

That settlement agreement was signed by four Bemidji city councilors, including two — Jim Thompson and Reed Olson — who voted against approving it Monday night. The agreement was contingent on approval by the Bemidji City Council and Bemidji Township Board.

Only Mayor Rita Albrecht and Ward 1 Councilor Michael Meehlhause voted to approve the settlement agreement Monday.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers local business and North Dakota politics. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Bemidji Pioneer.  

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