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Bemidji City Council: Audit contract, liquor license granted

The Bemidji City Council during its regular meeting Monday night approved a new liquor license for a Bemidji establishment and a three-year auditing contract with a Bemidji company.

The new liquor license was granted for The Tavern on Moberg, which will be located at the former Northern Inn at 3600 Moberg Drive N.W.

The owner of the property, Todd Lowth, is in the process of renovating the property and plans to reopen as soon as possible, according to council documents.

The approval, granted without discussion during the consent agenda, is contingent on a positive recommendation from the Bemidji Police Department, which is conducting its standard background check.

The council also approved a three-year contract for auditing services with Miller McDonald Inc. of Bemidji at a cost of $39,258 a year.

Four firms submitted proposals to the city. Miller McDonald was the second-low bid. The low bid was from Kern DeWenter Viere of St. Cloud at a price of $38,200.

However, Kern DeWenter Viere submitted in its bid 350 annual hours of work for its bid; Miller McDonald - who is currently doing the city's audit - submitted 660 hours of work.

Ron Eischens, the city's finance director, said Miller McDonald required 660 hours of work to complete the last audit.

Lower hours could mean less testing and/or greater expectations of city staff, Eischens said.

He judged the four proposals on three categories: auditing skills (50 percent weight), price (30 percent) and staffing (20 percent). Miller McDonald scored the highest on the criteria.

The council voted 6-0 to accept Eischens' recommendation. Councilor Greg Negard was absent.

BREC changes

The council voted 5-1 to accept change orders for the Bemidji Regional Event Center. Councilor Barb Meuers was opposed.

The change orders include:

- A savings of $12,551 due to a reduction in size of louvers.

- A savings of $7,483 due to using section overhead doors at the loading dock instead of coiling doors.

- An increase in cost of $22,475.77 to install advertising panels for the dasher boards along the bowl. The cost is being paid by Bemidji State University, which made the request.