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Johnson to return for 16th year on council

BEMIDJI--The longest serving member of Bemidji's City Council will once again represent Ward 3, having earned 1,117 votes in an unopposed election to win his fifth term.

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Ron Johnson

BEMIDJI-The longest serving member of Bemidji's City Council will once again represent Ward 3, having earned 1,117 votes in an unopposed election to win his fifth term.

Ron Johnson, first elected to the council in 2000, said his next few years in government will be focused on finishing annexation plans for land surrounding the community.

"A priority is completing the Phase II and Phase III annexation of both Bemidji Township and Northern Township as spelled out in the Orderly Annexation Agreement from 2004," Johnson said.

The process of annexing township property is scheduled to continue in 2018 and 2020. However, the city of Bemidji, Northern Township and Bemidji Township have been through a litigation process over the annexation plan.

Additionally, Johnson, 66, said another term on the council will include him working to transition away from the city's contract with the company VenuWorks that manages the Sanford Center.

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"I want to eliminate the expensive and ineffective management company at the Sanford Center and move toward cash flowing the operation of this very important Bemidji asset," Johnson said. "I also want to continue to market and develop the remaining land in Bemidji's South Shore.

Johnson, a BSU graduate, works as a design/promotion manager at Lakeland Public Television.

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