By: Diane Benjamin
At the November 24th City Council meeting Renner obviously felt the $750,000 State of Illinois grant via Bill Brady belonged to him. He showed a complete reversal from the previous Council meeting when Aldermen were told it could only be spent on expanding McGraw Park.
This comment from City staff was included in response to a question from Alderman Schmidt:
Staff Response: If the Council does not accept this grant, then it is possible that either Senator Brady or Governor Quinn working through the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) could reallocate these funds before Governor elect Rauner is sworn in. Legislative action may be needed. This grant is part of the 2009 Capital Bill which had separate and specific revenue sources, (i.e. video gaming, etc.), funding all capital projects. DCEO officials are urging the city to either use the grant or risk losing it for failure to act in a timely manner. DCEO is willing to fast track the grant contract through the Governor’s Office after Council decides to either use it to expand McGraw Park or some other park or trail project. http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7611
Tonight, even though news sources have announced the grant is CANCELLED, 20 minutes has been allocated to discuss how to spend it at a word session prior to the 7:00 meeting, and then it’s on the agenda again at 7:00:
Item 8C. Acceptance of $750,000 Legislative Appropriation. (That the approval of: 1.) approximately $300,000 is allocated to the resurfacing and/or expansion of Constitution Trail; 2.) approximately $250,000 is allocated toward resurfacing the cart paths at Prairie Vista Golf Course; and 3.) approximately $200,000 is allocated toward Sunnyside Park renovation
through which a community build initiative is undertaken where stakeholders and neighbors are involved in the renovation, authorize the City Manager to submit same to Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and request a binding contract.) http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7672
Evidently Renner thinks Gov. Quinn is going to ride in on his white horse with the money.
Here’s another twist:
The Staff response claims this money is available from “separate and specific revenue sources”. The City of Bloomington passed 3 new taxes last April, each with a specific purpose.
Government likes to compartmentalized revenue to justify spending. This is no different from you telling your bank you can’t make this month’s house payment because the income you allocated for it can only be earned between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm Monday through Wednesdays, but you took that time off this month.
When the State of Illinois and the City of Bloomington pass tax increases for a specific purpose, the revenue generated is unavailable for other uses. If bills can’t be paid it doesn’t matter that this grant money is sitting in another account. Instead of creating a budget based on total income and prioritizing spending (like normal people do), government insures pet projects are funded while whining about not having enough money for day-to-day expenses. More tax increases needed!
Citizens are bamboozled by government daily. They will never have enough revenue. Expect more Bloomington increases soon.