BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council will convene for a work session Monday evening, May 10, for a presentation on what to expect in the 2022 budget.

According to city documents, one aspect to consider for the budgeting process is new contracts with unions. There are five unions representing city employees in the Fire, Police, Public Works, Parks and Recreation and Liquor Departments.

The existing contacts are set to expire on Dec. 31 and the union requests for the next three years are due June 1. The city is expected to meet with the unions in closed sessions next month.

Another item to consider for financial planning is the impact of the federal American Recovery Plan Act. The city is expected to receive $1.8 million, with half this year and the other half in 2022.

The exact uses of the funds still need to be clarified, so allocations are yet to be determined. However, city documents state the bill has more flexible funding than 2020's Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

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Another future allocation decision for the city is related to its surplus. For 2020, the city had an undesignated surplus of $642,000.

City staff members are recommending that the city use the surplus to pay off South Shore land bonds, which would free $223,000 in tax levy funding for other uses.

Other budget considerations for the council include:

  • Hiring positions such as a public works building technician and an assistant city manager or community development director.
  • Meeting future railroad corridor infrastructure needs.
  • Staffing the Tourist Information Center.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. tonight, May 10, and can be viewed live or on replay on the city's website.