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County sets hearing on bar closing amendment

The second reading and public hearing of a Beltrami Counmty provision to prohibit alcohol sales after 1 a.m. will be held Tuesday.

The public hearing is slated a part of the Beltrami County Board's 5 p.m. regular meeting at the County Administration Building, 701 Minnesota Ave.

The County Board proposes to amend the county's ordinance for licensing and regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages to prohibit their sale after 1 a.m.

The action became necessary, commissioners say, when the Bemidji City Council voted to allow bars within city limits to remain open until 2 a.m. A developer of a bar/restaurant in the southshore development area sought that provision in order to purchase land.

The City Council voted on the issue in December and an effort to revote the matter before a new City Council this month failed.

The county provision would amend Section VIII to provide for no sale of alcoholic beverages after 1 a.m. on any day of the week, striking provisions that formerly allowed bars to seek a state license to sell alcohol beverages from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The county measure affects only seven or eight establishments located outside of municipal boundaries, but several are close to Bemidji.

After the County Board on Dec. 21 adopted a three-reading process, it also imposed a moratorium on applications to extend the 1 a.m. bar closing to provide the County Board sufficient time to consider the issues related to hours of alcohol sale.

"It is expected that a 2 a.m. bar closing may result in additional county expenditures related to law enforcement staffing, jail operations and county social services," states a memo to commissioners.

Also on the County Board's regional agenda is a clarification of the 2011 Kitchigami Regional Library budget, with KRL Director Marian Ridge.

The budget set by commissioners for 2011 provides state-mandated maintenance of effort funds to the library, less than what the library requested. The MOE amount is $294,624.

The regular agenda also includes consideration of county committee appointments.

Commissioners will open their 3 p.m. work session with a meeting with Callie Wahl, constituent services representative for U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-8th District.

At 3:30 p.m., commissioners will receive an update on the 230-kilowatt transmission line expansion project from Wilton to Cohasset. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has granted permission for the project route.

Commissioners will also receive the annual report of the Giziibii Resource Conservation and Development Association and hear about a Bemidji income maintenance case banking proposed re-organization in human services.

The board's consent agenda includes county bills and warrant payment listing and approval of a Minnesota County Computer Cooperative contract for finance and general government software.

The board will also be asked to approve a post employment health care savings plan for elected executive officers; approval to fill seven seasonal Highway Department laborer positions and approval Of a resolution for the revocation of Little Dip Loop Drive Northeast.