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City Council: 2 a.m. bar closing hearing is Monday night

For those who wanted a chance to be heard, this is it.

The public hearing on the proposed 2 a.m. bar closing time is Monday night, during the regular Bemidji City Council meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The council has a relatively full agenda for the meeting. The annual Truth in Taxation hearing - during which the city's finance director explains the proposed 2011 budget - will be held. Also on the agenda is consideration of funds for the installation of solar panels at The Sanford Center (formerly the Bemidji Regional Event Center). Funding has been asked to come from leftover contingency funds for constructing The Sanford Center.

But the public hearing on the 2 a.m. bar closing time is likely to draw the most interest from the public.

If supported by the majority of the council, the later bar closing time would allow bars to have the option of remaining open one hour later, from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The 2 a.m. time is not a new issue for the city - it already has been discussed two previous times this year - but the current ordinance process has advanced the issue further than previously.

In order for the change to be approved, the council needs to hold three public readings and then hold a simple majority vote. Thirty days after legal publication, the revised ordinance would be valid.

The public hearing scheduled for this week is held in tandem with the second reading of the ordinance.