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Bemidji to consider TIF options for south shore property

The Bemidji City Council has decided to at least pursue its options for tax-increment financing for development along the south shore of Lake Bemidji.

The council unanimously voted Monday to enter into a contract with Stefanie Galey of Faegre & Benson, a Minneapolis law firm, in which Galey would provide advice and proposals on the use of TIF for redevelopment purposes.

The cost for services will not exceed $10,000.

City Manager John Chattin said a consultant would be needed to address the many issues that come with TIF, including whether it should be used for just commercial development or housing as well. Galey will be look at the different areas that could benefit from TIF and how it could best be utilized.

"That's the purpose of this consulting with Faegre & Benson," he said.

Finance Director Ron Eischens and Mayor Richard Lehmann noted that Galey has previously worked with the city of Bemidji.

"Stefanie has worked with us in the past," Lehmann said. "She is familiar with our area."

DEED grant

In other south shore-related business, the council approved two resolutions in support of grant application to assist in cleanup costs for soil contaminations in the redevelopment area.

The grant, offered through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, awards funds to assist in the development of a response action plan to clean up contamination.

The first application for funds is due May 1 for a $50,000 grant that would be matched by $40,000 in local funds.

Actual cleanup of the land would be addressed in a future grant application; the funding split for cleanup would be 75 percent state and 25 percent local.

Chattin noted that the exact costs of cleanup are not now known, but have been estimated at a total of $500,000 to $1.5 million.