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Letter: Bemidji voters agreed to $35 million -- not more

At the City Council meeting on April 7, Ron Johnson and the mayor defended the bloated cost of the events center project by stating that the $91 million projected cost is for the project as a whole and the $35 million that voters (barely) approve...

At the City Council meeting on April 7, Ron Johnson and the mayor defended the bloated cost of the events center project by stating that the $91 million projected cost is for the project as a whole and the $35 million that voters (barely) approved was for the building alone. In legal terms, this is called a bait-and-switch.

If he disagrees, I have a car I want to sell Councilor Johnson that only costs $100. Of course, as a full transportation package, he'll have to buy the steering wheel, motor and tires which will boost the cost a lot. I'll tell him about that part later.

Seriously, the ballot measure referred to the events center and didn't say it was only for a building and not parking lots, lights, roads, etc. The exact wording is below. It is impossible to read this other than the authorization was for 60 percent of a $35 million facility which included land, demol-ition, construction, improvements, etc.

Councilor Erickson had it exactly right and Councilor Meuers is asking the right questions.

Construction of the Bemidji

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Regional Events Center

Shall the Bemidji City Council seek special legislative authorization to extend the current one-half of 1 percent local sales and use tax (0.5 percent) for the purpose of paying 60 percent of the cost to construct the Bemidji Regional Events Center? (The projected cost of constructing the events center is $35 million. The state is responsible for appropriating 40 percent of the cost. If authorized, the city will issue General Obligation bonds up to the authorized amount for the purpose of paying capital and administrative costs of acquisition, demolition, construction, infrastructure improvements, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Revenues from the extended sales and use tax will be pledged to the payment of the bonds, with bond payments also guaranteed by the city's property taxes.)

William Smith

Bemidji

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