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Bemidji City Council: Council to discuss parking fee increases

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Downtown Alliance will seek approval for increasing the fee for yearly parking permits from the City Council at the regular meeting Monday.

The proposed increases are the first changes to the fee structure since 2005, according to chart provided to the council by Denise Koenigsberg of the BDA's Parking Committee.

The rates are planned to increase about $5 to $10 for the 2014-15 year at all lots except for the Lot 8 south of the Visitor Center. However, rates will go up as much as $25 for several lots by 2016-17.

Koenigsberg said the rate hike is intended to help fund possible parking lot development.

"The rate increases are to improve revenue opportunities, for development in the future," she said. "Our rates, I believe, are behind what they should be."

During her report to the council Monday, Koenigsberg will discuss the possibility of constructing a parking ramp downtown, she said.

The council will also consider a request from Upstream TV for the city to fund half their annual operating budget in return for Upstream developing and maintaining a government access channel. Upstream proposed in their written request that the city allocate $40,300 in 2015.

"Upstream TV's financial position is weak and and their operating capital is depleted," the request said. "Membership fees, local grants and donations are not enough to support current operations or necessary improvements in the quantity and quality of broadcasts."

Also up for approval is the final design for the Chief Bemidji statue planned to be erected in Paul Bunyan/Library Park. The council's approval is a condition for whether artist Gareth Curtiss is paid $23,000, the second of three payments for creating the statue.

The council will also vote as part of the consent agenda whether to condemn two houses on 19th Street as public health hazards. The two resolutions order the property owners to either repair or raze the houses within 60 days after being served notice, or else the city will try to get a court order for summary enforcement.

Items on the consent agenda are decided as one motion without debate unless a council member moves to transfer an item to the regular agenda.

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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