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Events center committee again before City Council

John Chattin will again ask the Bemidji City Council to approve the formation of a Steering Committee to help facilitate the events center project.

The City Council meets in a regular council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bemidji City Hall. While meetings typically are held Mondays, City Hall is closed on Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

Chattin, the Bemidji city manager, had previously asked the City Council to form two events center committees - a Steering Committee and a Design Review Committee.

The council last week authorized the formation of the Design Review Committee, but voted 4-3 to table the Steering Committee decision to this week. The majority of councilors wanted more clarification about what the duties of the Steering Committee would be.

Chattin, who was on vacation last Monday, is expected to be at Tuesday's meeting.

In a staff report included in Tuesday's agenda packet, Chattin tells the council that the intention of the Steering Committee was not to "usurp council authority" on the events center, but to "ensure that the best decisions are made" in moving it forward.

"My original concept was to simply have a core group of individuals I could bounce ideas and/or proposals off of," Chattin wrote.

Councilor Roger Hellquist last week voiced concerns with having a Steering Committee make "day-to-day decisions" on the events center, as previously described.

Chattin, in his write-up for Tuesday's meeting, explained that having a staff member carry each needed decision to the council for authority in regards to the events center would be a "cumbersome process."

"This project has been behind the curve throughout its history," Chattin wrote. "We have been forced to make many decisions before we felt they had been thoroughly researched. Having a committee to consider many of these issues would provide the best possible solution and ensure that we keep a schedule that would allow completion by late fall of 2010."

Chattin also said he would work to keep the council informed of all progress.

"There has never been, nor will there ever be, any information about the project that is not available to the council," he wrote.

The following people have been proposed to be members of the Steering Committee:

-- Mayor Richard Lehmann

-- Councilor Ron Johnson

-- John Chattin, city manager

-- Brian Freeberg, city engineer

-- Rob Bollinger, from the BSU Foundation

-- Dale Wolden, retired

-- Scott Turn, Security Bank

-- Kathy Guess, former business owner

-- Anne Sand, lead lobbyist for events center project