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Bemidji City Council to consider Birchmont project

If the Birchmont Drive project is to proceed, the Bemidji City Council will have to award the bid during Monday's meeting.

The Northern Township Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on March 24 to approve the planned project that will expand utilities and reconstruct the roadway.

Its recommendation was forwarded to the Bemidji City Council, which must award the bid on April 7 or they expire.

The project affects both government entities as Northern Township is the local government unit that would call for the work, and the Bemidji City Council is the assessing unit.

There are 216 parcels that will be affected by planned sewer and water improvements along Birchmont Drive. Property owners connecting to sewer only would be assessed $14,470 and those connecting to sewer and water would be assessed $21,040.

A public hearing on the project was held March 10 with the Northern Township board. Several residents spoke out against the project during the public hearing, which prompted the Board of Supervisors to decide to send out surveys to gauge its support.

Of the 216 parcels, 78 property owners (36 percent) were in favor of moving the project forward and 86 property owners (40 percent) were opposed. The 52 remaining property owners (24 percent) did not return the survey. Surveys that were not returned were considered a vote in favor of the project.

If the bid is awarded during Monday's meeting, an assessment hearing would be held later this year for property owners wishing to dispute their proposed assessment charges.

Eleven bids were received; the low bid is $4,464,559.20 from Arcon Construction.

The total projected cost of the project is $5.48 million, according to council documents. Funding would come from assessments and Beltrami County.

Closed EDA meeting

Following the regular City Council meeting, councilors will convene in a closed session of the Bemidji Economic Development Authority "to develop or consider offers or counter-offers for the purchase or sale of real (estate) or personal property."

City Manager John Chattin said Friday that the EDA will consider the possible purchase of land adjacent to land the city already owns southeast of Lake Bemidji.