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City Council: Utility fee increase proposed

BEMIDJI – A public hearing addressing changes to an increase in electric and gas utility franchise fees is set Monday during the Bemidji City Council meeting.

The proposal, if approved, would raise residents’ utility franchise fees 1 percent, from 3.5 to 4.5 percent.

Manager John Chattin said raising franchise fees would generate an estimated $220,000 annual for the general fund. By contrast, raising property taxes 1 percent would generate less than a quarter that amount, in part due to the number of tax-exempt properties within the city.

In other business: 

-- Councilors will consider the 2013 Sanford Center budget and the Sanford Center business plan

-- Adjourn for a closed special work session to discuss pending litigation regarding reassessment of the Birchmont Drive utility project

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 317 4th St. NW.