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Bemidji City Council: City to consider Birchmont Drive assessment roll

BEMIDJI – The City Council here will consider the assessment roll for seven properties involved in the Birchmont Drive dispute when it convenes Monday.

Those properties have been recently annexed into Bemidji from Northern Township, where the legal saga has unfolded in the past four years.

Dozens of residents objected to the latest assessments in a joint meeting between the council and the Northern Township Board on Sept. 11. The township passed their assessment roll Sept. 24. 

Five of the seven properties that were annexed in Bemidji formally objected to the assessments on Sept. 11.

The issue has reached court twice since the utility extension project was completed in 2008. A judge ruled in 2009 that the township had to reassess the properties. In the midst of the second legal battle, the township vacated its reassessments when an error in the calculations was discovered.

City attorney Al Felix said Friday that appeals from property owners could be coming if the city passes the assessment roll.

Street renewal projects

 The council will also hold a public hearing on assessments for the 2012 street renewal project Monday night.

In the fourth year of the project, the city completed underground utility replacement, sidewalks and street pavement on Miles Avenue and 19th Street Northwest. The project cost $800,000 and the assessments total $150,000. The assessments will be spread over a 15-year period with a 2.75 percent interest rate.

Meanwhile, the council will also consider initiating the feasibility study for the 2013 street renewal project.

That’s the first step in the assessment process for proposed improvements. It will include project costs, preliminary assessments and the feasibility of the project. It’s projected to be complete for council review in November and construction will take place over next summer.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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