Why local government doesn’t have money

by:  Diane Benjamin

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission is busy planning for Bloomington.  Most of this commission consists of un-elected people who tell every level of government what to do by dangling money in front of them.  In addition to Bloomington, their website has plans for Normal, the County, and the schools.  That’s how Bloomington got West Side Gateways, the extension of  Constitution Trail north of Normal. as well as 2 new parks for the low low cost of $1.200,000.  Unless the citizens stop it, you will also get a 4 lane divided highway on the east side.  They have been doing this for decades, the Federal Government controls us locally through them.  The Feds funnel money to the States who agenda21-t_001“suggest” what local governments should do, IDOT makes up 1/2 of the MCRPC budget.   Much of what they discuss revolves around sustainability-their version, not one people would choose.  If they could move everybody into high-rises and eliminate cars, they would.

The MCRPC creates projects and then puts around 80% of the funding on the table, all the City Council has to come up with is the 20%.  Since the City leadership buys into the plans, they have little choice but to approve the projects.  Most of your elected alderman jump at bringing money into the city, urged on by the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council.  All these groups believe government spending is the key to success.  You can see all the plans at http://www.mcplan.org/

Not everything they suggest is without merit, but these projects divert money from essential services and the basic business of the City.  This is why the roads are falling apart and pensions aren’t funded.  It’s much more glamorous to give highly visible gifts to the citizens.

Worse yet, they talk about community involvement in the decision making.  They did a survey of citizens concerning bike lanes awhile back.  Nobody knew about the survey except the area bikers, so they were the only ones who voted.  They MCRPC then assumed most people agreed with bike lanes!  They create citizen committees, but the citizens involved are the ones who support their sustainability agenda.   Your elected alderman matter if you believe locals should have local control.   Electing alderman who don’t jump at money is essential to maintaining local control of government.  Somehow most forget that no matter where the money comes from, it’s still taxpayer money!

Below is what they have on the agenda for this year.  Some items like Form Based Code and the Main Street Corridor have been rejected over and over, but it never goes away.  “Best practices” is code for limiting freedom because we are smarter than you.  Everything listed will cost you money and infringe on personal property rights.  Meanwhile, the jobs the City should be doing won’t have funding.

4. ASSESSMENT OF FUTURE TRENDS. Building upon the existing conditions analysis, an assessment of future trends will be made to gauge how conditions and needs are likely to change during the course of the 20-25-year planning period with consideration given to emerging trend

I. Downtown Bloomington Plan. Preservation and Revitalization
J. Main Street Corridor Plan and transportation plan issues. Preservation and Revitalization, Transportation and Parking
K. Vacant shopping centers (not limited to older parts of the city). Preservation and Revitalization
L. Reuse or sale of surplus city owned property. Preservation and Revitalization, Land Use and Development
M. Reduction of density in older neighborhoods. Preservation and Revitalization
N. Environmental – stream protection. Urban Sustainability and Design
O. East Side Highway. Transportation and Parking
P. Comprehensive street maintenance and development plan. Transportation and Parking
Q. Fiscal impact analysis. Urban Sustainability and Design; interwoven throughout
R. Neighborhood plans. Preservation and Revitalization
S. Reconversion of older multifamily homes back to single-family homes. Preservation and Revitalization, Land Use and Development
T. Use and limitations of the comprehensive plan. Plan Introduction
U. Best practices from other areas. Interwoven throughout
V. Impact fees (especially how to update road improvement impact fee ordinance). Urban Sustainability and Design
W. Form Based Code. Preservation and Revitalization; others as applicable
X. Sustainability. Urban Sustainability and Design; interwoven throughout

Below is the entire plan:

PROJECT SCOPE AND APPROACH FOR UPDATING THE CITY OF BLOOMINGTON COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

McLean County Regional Planning Commission
July, 2013  https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=ebef6df454&view=att&th=1408354e3d8cd24e&attid=0.2&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8UVdQewxwaBQCq9YgO5uKP&sadet=1376961011386&sads=LMaMD7v3ZFoddcQIeK9dXknAT1s

The City of Bloomington Comprehensive Plan will be updated and refined by city officials, staff and citizens with technical assistance from McLean County Regional Planning Commission (commission) as outlined below.

1. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PROCESS. To capitalize on local expertise and human resources, and to increase public understanding and support for the plan, a multifaceted approach to public involvement will be employed in the plan’s development. This will include the use of citizen-based committees, a public opinion survey, a series of public meetings, and the use of the internet.

A. Citizen-based Committees. Citizen-based plan committees will be formed to provide assistance in completing the individual elements of the plan, which are outlined later in this project scope. Each committee will feature representation by a wide range of interests and include members with specialized knowledge when possible. Additionally, the chairs of each plan committee will collectively form a steering committee to oversee the overall completion of the plan, drawing upon the input of the individual plan committees as needed.

B. Public Opinion Survey. This survey will be conducted for use in obtaining greater citizen input for consideration in developing the plan. A questionnaire will be designed to obtain information regarding resident likes, dislikes, issues and priorities for the future, and other information useful in establishing a vision and preparing the plan. With approval of the city, the questionnaire will be posted on-line, and requests for on-line completion mailed with city water bills to Bloomington households, as well as advertised in the news media.

C. Public Meetings. In addition to meetings of the plan committees, the public involvement process will include six meetings designed to inform city officials and the general public about the plan and provide further opportunities for public input. A kickoff meeting will be held early in the process to discuss the plan approach and the design of the public opinion survey. A second public meeting to discuss plan progress and survey results will be held approximately midway through the process and a third meeting will be held to discuss the preliminary plan when a draft has been completed. Three additional meetings are planned for the Bloomington Planning Commission and City Council to discuss the plan, including at least one public hearing on the proposed plan.

D. Website Posting. A digital version of the preliminary plan report will also be posted online to further publicize the plan and provide additional opportunities for public input.

2. PLAN ELEMENTS. Six plan elements are currently included in the scope of this update, which consolidates the fifteen elements addressed in the city’s previous comprehensive plan, and provides more focus on fiscal impact analysis and best practices and trends from around the

nation:
A. Coordination and Implementation
B. Urban Sustainability and Design
C. Preservation and Revitalization 2
D. Land Use and Development
E. Transportation and Parking
F. Community Facilities and Services

Changes in content and format from the previous plan have also been incorporated into the scope of this update. Each element will include the following components:
A. Existing Conditions Analysis
B. Assessment of Future Trends
C. Identification of Community Issues
D. Formulation of Strategies.

3. EXISTING CONDITIONS ANALYSIS. Utilizing input from the public involvement process, and the plan committees in particular, the existing conditions analysis for each element of the plan, as applicable, will include identifying data needs, collecting and analyzing data, and
concisely reporting the findings. The results of the existing conditions analysis will be used to identify present needs and establish a basis for assessing future conditions and needs. It is anticipated that most statistical data will be presented in a data supplement to be included in the
appendix of the planning report, with most maps and other graphics incorporated into the text to enhance understanding and appeal.

4. ASSESSMENT OF FUTURE TRENDS. Building upon the existing conditions analysis, an assessment of future trends will be made to gauge how conditions and needs are likely to change during the course of the 20-25-year planning period with consideration given to emerging trend in the scope of this update, which consolidates the fifteen elements addressed in the city’s previous comprehensive plan, and provides more focus on fiscal impact analysis and best practices and trends from around the nation:

A. Coordination and Implementation
B. Urban Sustainability and Design
C. Preservation and Revitalization 2
D. Land Use and Development
E. Transportation and Parking
F. Community Facilities and Services

Changes in content and format from the previous plan have also been incorporated into the scope of this update. Each element will include the following components:
A. Existing Conditions Analysis
B. Assessment of Future Trends
C. Identification of Community Issues
D. Formulation of Strategies.

3. EXISTING CONDITIONS ANALYSIS. Utilizing input from the public involvement process, and the plan committees in particular, the existing conditions analysis for each element of the plan, as applicable, will include identifying data needs, collecting and analyzing data, and
concisely reporting the findings. The results of the existing conditions analysis will be used to identify present needs and establish a basis for assessing future conditions and needs. It is anticipated that most statistical data will be presented in a data supplement to be included in the
appendix of the planning report, with most maps and other graphics incorporated into the text to enhance understanding and appeal.

4. ASSESSMENT OF FUTURE TRENDS. Building upon the existing conditions analysis, an assessment of future trends will be made to gauge how conditions and needs are likely to change during the course of the 20-25-year planning period with consideration given to emerging trend

I. Downtown Bloomington Plan. Preservation and Revitalization
J. Main Street Corridor Plan and transportation plan issues. Preservation and Revitalization, Transportation and Parking
K. Vacant shopping centers (not limited to older parts of the city). Preservation and Revitalization
L. Reuse or sale of surplus city owned property. Preservation and Revitalization, Land Use and Development
M. Reduction of density in older neighborhoods. Preservation and Revitalization
N. Environmental – stream protection. Urban Sustainability and Design
O. East Side Highway. Transportation and Parking
P. Comprehensive street maintenance and development plan. Transportation and Parking
Q. Fiscal impact analysis. Urban Sustainability and Design; interwoven throughout
R. Neighborhood plans. Preservation and Revitalization
S. Reconversion of older multifamily homes back to single-family homes. Preservation and Revitalization, Land Use and Development
T. Use and limitations of the comprehensive plan. Plan Introduction
U. Best practices from other areas. Interwoven throughout
V. Impact fees (especially how to update road improvement impact fee ordinance). Urban Sustainability and Design
W. Form Based Code. Preservation and Revitalization; others as applicable
X. Sustainability. Urban Sustainability and Design; interwoven throughout

6. FORMULATION OF STRATEGIES. Strategies will be formulated with the plan committees to address the issues identified through this planning process. The strategies will encompass the following components for each element of the plan:
A. Visions and/or Goals
B. Objectives
C. Policies
D. Actions.
7. IDENTIFICATION OF PRIORITIES. The Coordination and Implementation committee, with input from the other plan committees and staff, will evaluate the actions that will have been recommended for each element of the plan. Based on this evaluation, a limited number of priorities will be identified for initial consideration by the city.

8. DELIVERABLES. Hardcopy and digital deliverables will be provided to the city by the commission. Working drafts of all plan elements will be provided by the commission to plan committee members during the course of plan development. Up to fifty (50) printed and bound copies of a preliminary plan report will be provided to the city for review in addition to the posting of this report on the commission’s website. Up to fifty (50) printed and bound copies of the final report on the City of Bloomington Comprehensive Plan with all related maps and graphics will be delivered to the city. A digital copy of the final plan will also be provided to the city and posted on the commission’s website.

9. COMPLETION SCHEDULE. The estimated time to complete the tasks as per the scope and approach outlined above is 18 months from project initiation to delivery of the preliminary planning report. The expected date of project initiation is September 2013.

10. PROJECT COSTS. The tasks and deliverables outlined herein will be completed without additional charge in accordance with the commission’s Fiscal Year 2014 Unified Work Program, which was approved in the spring of 2013, and under the terms of the annual service agreement
between the commission and the city. Any unforeseen direct project costs, such as for additional hardcopies of the plan or for third-party services related or unrelated to this project scope, shall be preapproved by and borne by the city.

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