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Bemidji Council approves Birchmont Drive re-assessments

BEMIDJI -- The Birchmont Drive assessment saga that began in 2008 when a water and sewer project was completed is coming to a close.

On Monday, the Bemidji City Council approved a resolution to adopt re-assessment rolls that had been decided upon by way of a settlement agreement. The agreement stemmed from litigation between the city of Bemidji, Northern Township and property owners over a $5.4 million water and sewer extension project that included road reconstruction finished in 2008.

According to city documents, pursuant to the settlement agreement, the affected property owners prepared the re-assessment roll and have also submitted assessment waivers for the proposed roll amounts. The total amount of the roll is $452,893.27.

“The settlement adjusted the assessment that was levied in 2016,” Bemidji City Attorney Alan Felix said after the council’s meeting. “That’s why we had to settle it, to get everyone on board. We adopted this tonight and Northern Township will adopt their version for those in the township that were assessed next Monday night.”

City documents state that the assessments will vary between those who only had sewer connections and property owners who had both sewer and water connections. Property owners will have the option of paying their assessment in full or over the course of 15 years with 3 percent interest per year.

“This has been something, since I’ve been elected Mayor, that I’ve wanted to check off and it’s been five years now,” Mayor Rita Albrecht said during the meeting. “So, it will be good to get this one settled.”

By passing the consent agenda Monday, the council also authorized the Bemidji Police Department to purchase 30 body worn cameras and necessary electronic hardware from DigitalAlly of Lenexa, Kan., at a cost of $52,440. In addition, the council authorized the department to purchase electronic computer based storage and server equipment at a cost of $37,911 through the Beltrami County Management Information Systems Department.

The purchases by the Police Department will be paid for using the city’s forfeiture fund, documents state.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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