Lehmann says Gov. Pawlenty talks went well
Gov. Tim Pawlenty was receptive to the contingent of local men who went to the Capitol Tuesday to lobby for the events center. Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann, City Manager John Chattin, Bemidji State University President Jon Quistgaard and Mike Sm...
Gov. Tim Pawlenty was receptive to the contingent of local men who went to the Capitol Tuesday to lobby for the events center.
Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann, City Manager John Chattin, Bemidji State University President Jon Quistgaard and Mike Smith, the president of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, met with Pawlenty and a bonding aide for about 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon, Lehmann said.
"It was a good meeting, very cordial," Lehmann said. "The governor was very interested in our project."
The four men from Bemidji met with Pawlenty and a staff member.
"He was very interested in the project and understood the importance of it for us and the region," Lehmann said.
Pawlenty asked several questions about the Bemidji events center and while the group was able to answer most of them, Lehmann said it will get additional information to him sometime Wednesday.
"He was very attentive, very receptive," Lehmann said. "Overall, it was a good meeting."
Funding for the proposed events center was included in both the House of Representatives and Senate bonding bills, at $20 and $22 million respectively. A conference committee will debate the two bills and then present one to Pawlenty for his approval or denial.
The half-cent sales tax extension, which is proposed to cover the local funding needs for the facility, was approved by Pawlenty earlier this month when he signed the omnibus tax bill.
Lehmann said Pawlenty did not give any indication as to whether he would support bonding dollars for the project at this time.
"He's not going to tip his hand," Lehmann said.
But, the group was encouraged to see that the governor appreciated how the project could affect the future of the Bemidji State University Division I hockey program.
"He understood the urgency," Lehmann said.