Bemidji City Council Approves Financial Budget For 2020
Bemidji City Council made some tough financial decisions for the upcoming year. During the city council meeting, council members voted on a number of items on the agenda after weeks of review.
On Monday, the City Council passed votes on next year’s city budget, the tax levy and the Sanford Center budget. Approval of the Sanford Center budget passed 5-2 with councilors Mike Beard and Ron Johnson against the budget. Beard, who represents Bemidji’s Ward 2, says he doesn’t think the facility is being used to its full capacity.
“I think we’re doing a lot of good things in the wedding business, I think we’re doing a lot of good things in the convention, but that’s 14,000 square feet of 197,000 square foot facility. So, what are we doing with the other 180,000 square feet?” asked Beard.
Johnson, who represents Ward 3, says another reason the Sanford Center isn’t doing well is because of the low attendance at hockey games. Ward 1 Council Member Michael Meehlhause says that it’s not on VenuWorks, the management company operating the Sanford Center, to market Bemidji State University hockey.
“A lot of that is on BSU. Now, what more can BSU do? Maybe they need to get back with Lakeland to have games on TV again. Maybe they need to be more aggressive in their marketing campaign,” Meehlhause said.
The city’s 2020 budget was passed with six votes with Ward 5 Council Member Nancy Erickson voting against it, and the council unanimously approved the tax levy of $6.1 million.