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Bemidji City Council: Albercht to be sworn in as mayor

BEMIDJI – The Bemidji City Council will welcome some new and old faces during its Monday night meeting.

Current Ward 4 City Councilor Rita Albrecht will assume the gavel as mayor, becoming the first woman to do so in the city’s history. She defeated Dave Larson in November’s election.

New councilors Michael Meehlhause and Nancy Erickson will also be sworn in Monday. Ward 1 Councilor Meehlhause, 23, is possibly the youngest councilor in the city’s history.

Erickson previously sat on the council for Ward 5 before running for mayor in 2008.

Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson ran unopposed in November, and will also be sworn in Monday.

Albrecht’s departure from her seat leaves a vacancy on the council, which can either be filled with an appointment or a special election.

The council is scheduled to discuss how to fill that seat during Monday’s meeting.

Street Project Hearing

The council plans a public hearing on its annual street renewal project during Monday’s meeting.

On Dec. 3, the council approved the feasibility report for the reconstruction of a handful of selected streets next year.

The project will be funded through a street tax levy, utility funds and assessments to affected property owners. It will improve 1.2 miles of city streets and cost about $1.2 million.

Economic Authority

After the council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Monday, the Bemidji Economic Development Authority is scheduled to convene for its annual meeting and appoint officers.

Albrecht, Erickson and Councilor Roger Hellquist are being recommended as officers for the BEDA, along with city manager John Chattin, finance director Ron Eischens and city clerk Kay Murphy.

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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