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Bemidji City Council: Olson sworn in, ordinances read

BEMIDJI – Reed Olson was sworn in to the Ward 4 seat on the Bemidji City Council at Monday night’s meeting.

Olson, co-owner of the Wild Hare Bistro, was appointed by the city council to the previously vacant seat on Jan. 28. He will serve the second half of Rita Albrecht’s four-year term after she won the mayoral race in November.

Olson, along with three other candidates, was interviewed by the council before it made its unanimous decision.

Also during the Monday meeting, Olson was appointed to the Parks and Trails Commission.  

Ordinances read

The council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance allowing the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct criminal background checks on prospective city employees.

The BCA has been doing background checks for the city, but it has now required municipalities to give that permission through an ordinance.

The council also had a first reading of an ordinance amending the city charter to update candidate filing dates to reflect a recent legislative change. People would be able to file for candidacy between 70 and 56 days before the first Tuesday after the second Monday in August, rather than September, before a municipal election.

sales tax resolution

The council added a discussion of legislative proposals to tax clothing sales to its Feb. 11 work session agenda.

That decision came after Bill Batchelder, owner of the Bemidji Woolen Mills, asked the council to consider a resolution opposing three separate proposals to add a sales tax on clothing in Minnesota.

Batchelder said the tax, which would apply to clothing items costing more than $100 under Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget, would negatively impact businesses in Bemidji, including the one that’s been in his family for almost 100 years.

Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope introduced two other bills this session that would tax clothing.

“All three proposed legislative efforts will have unintended negative consequences to my company and the fragile remnants of American clothing manufacturing left in Minnesota,” Batchelder wrote in a letter to the council.

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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