Bloomington Budget: Mental midgets

by:  Diane Benjamin

City Manager David Hales released a revised budget:

11 (ELEVEN) pages are dedicated to raising the gas tax.  Instead of comparing the gas taxes in cities all over Illinois, here’s all they need to know

1)  Current gas prices are over $3.50 a gallon again

2) The last 5 year history shows when gas prices are high, the economy SLOWS 

3)  Adding even more taxes makes the price even higher – thus even LESS economic growth

4)  My husband works in Champaign.  He NEVER buys gas there because the price is always higher – taxes!

5)  People living outside of Bloomington who work here will also NOT buy gas in Bloomington

6)  High gas prices target the poor and middle class.  The middle class is already disappearing due to the national economy.  The local economy will decline if ANY taxes are raised.  When people have less money to spend because of taxes, local businesses suffer.

Other budget comments:

  • The revised budget takes out $185,000 for roof replacement at City Hall, but leaves in $150,000 for Flamingos at the Zoo.  The roof line refers to a footnote:   (A&E work done) 4, but I’m not sure what that means since there is no footnote 4 on the page.  Priorities need adjusting?
  • Page 10 shows staff reductions – including 3 police officers.  This is where the taxpayers will see if the Hales worshipers on the Council will fall in line behind him.  The Council specifically told Hales NO cuts to public safety.  Hales is going to tell them taxes must be raised if they want to keep the 3 positions.  Meanwhile, there are only minor cuts to the BCPA budget and only $25,200 from Administration.  Reduction of staff in Parks and Rec is limited to Seasonal Employees.
  • Hales is going to make taxpayers think reducing seasonal employees will affect park maintenance:  “Loss of 16,520 man-hours of park maintenance work or the equivalent of 8 full-time employees”.  I’ve reported before that my son worked for Parks and Rec as a seasonal employee for 2 summers.  His schedule was not planned on most days.  A LOT of time was wasted driving around town.  If the work was scheduled and prioritized, many man-hours will be recovered.  Mapping out the needed work isn’t that tough.
  • Hales is taking $130,000 out of Traffic Line Painting:  “Eliminate the Traffic Line Painting program – safety risk”.  Hopefully this means bike lines too, but don’t count on it.
  • General Fund Transfer for Streets Master Plan – Saves $200,000:  Decrease funding and utilize other studies and in-house resources to complete the project. In-House?  Duh!

There’s a lot more, this is just a few points.

Tonight the Council will be discussing the budget again.  Some time between 6:30 and 7:00 the discussion should be live-streamed.  Until you hear the Mayor, City Manager, and Aldermen for yourself, you will be misled by media reports.

The unanswered questions remains:  Why did Mayor Renner and City Manager David Hales believe they could get a budget through that spent $11 MILLION more than last year?  Why were they trying to grow government at a much faster pace than the population or inflation?

2 Townhall meetings are scheduled for this week:

Where are Fruin, Fazzini, Painter, and Mwilambwe ?  Watching the show before taking sides?

Some of the mental midgets have spoken: new taxes needed.  Join the fun and voice your opinion!

I will be attending the Tuesday Townhall.  Wednesday nights during Lent I have other commitments.




2 thoughts on “Bloomington Budget: Mental midgets

  1. Hales is a bottom feeder who only goes after the low hanging fruit. I just wish one of the Aldermen would have the nerve to get in his face tonight and call him out on not delivering a sound plan that includes keeping all the public safety recommendations in the budget and start with all the cuts starting from his office on down. There is a lot of fat to cut and he’s resisting. Judy and Kevin had fantastic ideas. You had good ideas. Many other citizens had good ideas. Hales is playing games now and I’m more than convince now that regardless what it takes to get rid of him in the form of a severance package, he needs to go.

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