Weather Forecast


Bemidji City Council to discuss taproom ordinance

BEMIDJI – An ordinance allowing taprooms in Bemidji will be on the city council’s work session agenda Monday night.

The ordinance would allow licensed brewers in the city to sell only beer that’s made in the facility in taprooms, something that was made possible by recent legislative changes. Currently, an establishment in Bemidji must sell food if it sells alcohol for consumption on site.

Small breweries and taprooms have sprung up around the state since the Legislature’s passage of the so-called “Surly bill” in 2011.

The ordinance would also allow licensed brewers to sell 64-ounce jugs called “growlers,” or 750 milliliter bottles of beer.

The ordinances were scheduled to have a first reading at last week’s city council meeting, but were pulled in order for councilors and staff to discuss the fee structure. 

Joint planning funding

The council will review its contribution to the Greater Bemidji Joint Planning Board during the Monday meeting.

According to a memo from planning administrator Mayana Rice, the budget contributions from the three local governments will be discussed at the JPB meeting Wednesday.

Under the joint powers agreement, Bemidji Township contributes 20 percent, Northern Township 30 percent and the city of Bemidji contributes 50 percent. Changes in the formula can be based off geography of each jurisdiction, tax capacity, population and current makeup of the JPB.

Since the first phase of annexation last year changed some of those factors, it’s possible that the contribution levels could change slightly.

Sales tax resolution

The council will also discuss recent proposals in the state Legislature to tax clothing, which is currently exempted from sales tax in Minnesota.

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed taxing clothing priced at more than $100 in his budget plan.

Bill Batchelder, owner of Bemidji Woolen Mills, asked the council to consider a resolution opposing the tax proposals during last week’s meeting. He said he was “hurt” that a resolution wasn’t put on the regular meeting agenda for discussion.

The council voted to put it on the work session agenda during that meeting.

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.  

(701) 255-5607