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Bemidji City Council approves proposal to house JPB offices

Mi casa es su casa.

The Bemidji City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposal offering to house the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board offices in Bemidji City Hall at a rental rate of $12 per square foot with 3 percent annual increases during the lease term, which is proposed to be at least five years.

Under the proposal, the city would pay for the JPB's heat, air-conditioning, electric, water and sewer, and also provide Internet service. The JPB would be able to use the city's phone system. Signage for the proposed offices would be paid for by the JPB.

The JPB is considering three potential sites for its offices, including Bemidji City Hall. Other possible sites are at the Lakeside Service Center and at Four West Office Building, both in Bemidji.

The JPB was to tour the potential sites last night and consider proposals before making a final decision, according to city councilors.

Mayor Richard Lehmann asked the council to approve the proposal so "we would have something concrete to propose" to the JPB while it considers locations.

The JPB, which began meeting this past spring, considers land-use requests from residents and businesses in the city of Bemidji, Northern Township and Bemidji Township. Board members take action on requests while also taking into considering the recommendation from its Joint Planning Commission.

Five City Council members are part of the JPB or its Joint Planning Commission. Councilor Ron Johnson invited of the city councilors to take part in the touring of the potential office sites.