BEMIDJI -- The third and final phase of the city of Bemidji annexing a predetermined section of land in Northern Township may be happening sooner than expected.

The orderly annexation agreement between Bemidji and Northern Township initially had the land change set for June. However, during a work session Monday, the Bemidji City Council discussed moving the date to the near future because of the upcoming U.S. Census.

According to City Manager Nate Mathews, the census starts April 1, and moving the annexation to an earlier date allows the city clerk more time to create the required city boundary and ward lines. Additionally, those changes have to be approved by the Minnesota Municipal Boundary Adjustment Office before they're official.

The section to be annexed extends northward from Anne Street, up to Lakewood Drive Northwest and westward to U.S. Highway 71 and the Bemidji Regional Airport. By bringing in the property, the city is expected to see an estimated $300,000 increase in property taxes collected.

The 2020 annexation follows two others, in 2010 and 2015. Originally, the annexation agreement had included Bemidji Township, too. However, after the first annexation, Bemidji Township filed a pair of lawsuits to exit.

In 2017, a settlement was reached with all parties, including the withdrawal of Bemidji Township from the annexation agreement and the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board.

With consensus from the council, Mathews said the subject will be placed on the council's next meeting agenda, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the form of a resolution.