Approval of 2021 tax levy, budget on deck for Bemidji Council

On the agenda for the Bemidji City Council Monday, resolutions will be considered to approve the final tax levy and budget for next year. The council is also scheduled to discuss the city's 125th celebration.

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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council is set to finalize its budget work for the year with two financial resolutions on tonight's agenda.

The Council is scheduled to vote on the 2021 tax levy and budget at its Monday meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., with both of them having been described in detail at the governing body's last meeting. The first agenda item is the tax levy, which is proposed at $6.5 million.

The amount is an increase of $397,200, or 6.5% from 2020. Bemidji Finance Director Ron Eischens has said, though, that because of new construction and addition of land annexed from Northern Township, residents are unlikely to see an increase in their taxes.

A large majority of the tax levy will be used for the general fund, with $5.5 million dedicated. The general fund is used for operations such as police, fire and public works.

The tax levy also has $30,000 toward the capital replacements at the Sanford Center, $385,000 for street improvements, $323,677 for bonds related to land on Lake Bemidji's South Shore and $267,055 on bonds for the city's Public Works Facility.


In total, expenditures in the proposed 2021 budget come to $38 million. The amount is a $2.2 million decrease, or 5.6%, from 2020. Representing 36% of the budget expenses in 2021 is the general fund.

Another major part of the budget is enterprise activities, which come to $17 million. These activities include utilities, refuse services, municipal liquor store operations and workings at the city-owned Sanford Center event facility.

Another item on Monday's agenda is a discussion on the 125th anniversary of Bemidji becoming a city next year. For 2021, the Beltrami County Historical Society will take the lead on the celebration.

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