by: Diane Benjamin
This morning on Cities 92.9 Mayor Renner stated that most of what I write is fiction. Keep it up Mayor! Citizens can see right through your marginalizing of anybody who isn’t 100% behind you. Somebody has to hold you accountable, it obvious the Pantagraph and WJBC won’t do the job. Somebody has to analyze what is really happening at City Hall. You want more taxes – you have to answer questions.
Mayor Renner’s rant about the budget at last night’s City Council meeting starts at 1:39. Please watch it all the way to the end so you can see the Council’s reaction to his statements. Remember that Council members are paid a little over $5000 a year, the Mayor $12,000, City Manager David Hales over $200,000. Council members do NOT have access to financial information, they can request it, but that doesn’t mean they will get it.
There was a perfect example of unavailable information last night. An agreement was approved for the Chateau to pay hotel-motel and food taxes that are 2 years past due. First, a private business would never let a customer be 2 years past due. Where has the City been for 2 years? Alderwoman Stearns asked how many other businesses were past due. She did not receive an answer. Months ago I saw this entry the City’s Trial Balance:
This entry is to declare $513,722.53 uncollectable. I asked for a list of what was written off. The City told me they don’t have a list. They just write off a percentage of the accounts every year. Accounting can not be made up, but the City of Bloomington regularly practices it. Obviously collecting what is due or even watching it isn’t a priority. Another David Hales failure to supervise employees. Tax increases are so much easier. If Hales doesn’t have enough staff, he needs to quit making them gather data for his comparison project to other cities. Still no cost figures to participate in that non-essential project.
The proposed budget initially included 17 new positions. Mayor Renner started off supporting the hiring, now he is down to 3 firemen. Yes, they are needed. Your tax dollars have been used for Quality of Life at the expense of essential services. There was a presentation before the mayor’s rant about the fire department justifying the 3 new employees.
The City is facing large pensions payment increases, so the real question is why would the Mayor support 17 new employee salaries and pensions? Is he trying to bankrupt the City? He is on a course to spend and tax, spend and tax, he just wants the spending paid for first. He hasn’t given up on redeveloping downtown Bloomington either. You are his piggy bank.
If you watched the Saturday budget meeting and last nights comments after the Mayor, any talk of cuts is immediately shut down. The budget must be approved before May 1st, and they just don’t have time for minutia. According to the Mayor and City Manager, tax increases are the only way to solve the City’s problems. At least 3 aldermen said they have a list of cuts, they were not allowed to discuss them.
Mayor Renner said the budget is not David Hales’s responsibility. The Council is supposed to lead. The Council has no access to the financial data David Hales has and they so far have not been allowed to discuss cuts. Renner wants more taxes and he will veto the budget if he doesn’t get them. Watch for yourself and then decide. Don’t miss Alderman Lower at the end.
This is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wk-qfzh2qM&list=UUS8WR70NFd2XMmFYRDHEGEw