by: Diane Benjamin
I hope the residents of Bloomington took the time to watch the Council meeting on-line tonight. You can’t really tell what they are thinking unless you watch it. It will be available here if you missed it tonight: http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=61 Bring coffee, it’s long.
There was a presentation of the budget – $180,000,000 up from $169,000,000. More on that tomorrow.
What you will want to know is Alderman Fazzini still hasn’t given up on raising the Motor Fuel Tax. It’s not in the budget, but he wants it there.
What is in the budget is a brand new Amusement tax of 4% that would apply to your cable bill, movies, bowling, BCPA, Coliseum, zoo and golf. Also included are increases to the Utility Tax-to the maximum allowed by law. That would raise your electric bill, gas bill, telephone & cell bill, and water bill. The tax would match what Normal charges.
The Council needs ideas for what to cut. I have suggested privatizing the zoo before. The City should take a serious look at it. There is no reason for the City to own the Coliseum, the BCPA, and a zoo. The chances of privatizing the other two are next to impossible, but many cities have privatized their zoo. I also suggest auditing the concessions at the Coliseum. Every dime collected should be accounted for so the City is assured of getting their share. One more suggestion – Bloomington has a lot of parks. Why can’t the homeowners associations take over mowing some of them? I’ve lived in 2 rural subdivisions. Both did mowing and maintenance themselves. A relative of mine worked for Bloomington Parks and Rec for 2 summers. He told me the crews did a lot more driving around than actual work.
If you have other ideas of where to cut, contact your alderman. The entire budget will be on-line too.