Bloomington: Garbage was free until 2005

By:  Diane Benjamin

10 short years ago Bloomington did not charge for ANY garbage or bulky waste pickup.  In 2005 the Council decided they could no longer cover the cost.  Previously the cost was part of the services provided by the City through the taxes you paid.

This is from the FY 2005 budget, page 7

GrabTaxa Note all the other taxes implemented at the same time, also note why:  Coliseum and BPCA.  Also note the purpose was to “improve the quality of life for generations to come”.  The general fund also increased 16.75% that year – see page 8.

Why the change?  The City wanted to “gift” you with more Quality of Life.  The 2016 budget calls for subsidies to the Coliseum of $2,510,000 and $500,000 to the BCPA.  As the Coliseum ages, it will require even more maintenance.  Nice “gift”.  Repairs to the parking garage were supposedly paid for by negotiations with the contractors, but Saturday a slight mention was made about the costs associated with the repairs this year.  Did the City get paid or not?

Tonight the City Council will be asked to raise the formerly free service again:  Page 146.

The service is no longer paid for by taxes you already pay because the City doesn’t want it included!  They have other plans for your tax dollars whether you want them or not.  What happened to the savings from automated trucks and new carts?  Doesn’t it only take one person now instead of two?  What about Workers Comp claims?  Wasn’t the new system supposed to save money there too?

The fee for bulk waste will go from ZERO to $50.00.  The City needs money and the potted plants had better vote for it.  I’m sure Renner will threaten to veto the budget again if the increase isn’t approved.  Cuts are unthinkable because that would cut the power the City has over citizens.  Once government grabs your money, they aren’t giving it back – they just want more.

Instead of providing essential services paid for by the taxes you already pay, David Hales staff takes priority.

Total Admin spending:

2011   $590,415.95  Actual

2012   $668,452.00 Projected

2013   $884,179.00 Proposed

2014  $1,065,611  Actual

2015  $1,447,000 Projected

2016  $1,256,932 Proposed

Included are Assistant City Managers and a Communications Director that doesn’t communicate, unless it’s to issue a press release.  Bureaucracy wins over solid waste.

All departments under Renner and Hales are forced to spend countless hours analyzing department performance.  All departments complain about not having enough money or personnel.  If doing the job was a higher priority than measuring performance, maybe the turnover in leadership wouldn’t have decimated high level management at the City.

Are services better now than a few years ago?  Are essential services even a priority?

“Public service” has been replaced by “implementing an agenda”.  It started long ago, Renner has just kicked it into high gear.

How long will it be before Bloomington will charge for other essential services?  Or, maybe that’s why the City started their own court.  I suspect police state tactics to also kick into high gear!  When government takes more power, they intend to use it.

When the local media is controlled by government, (Staff continued to build strong working relationships with reporters from The Pantagraph, WJBC, WGLT, and other area media.  Page 116) citizens will never see it coming.






20 thoughts on “Bloomington: Garbage was free until 2005

  1. Putting the ‘snarkiness’ aside – what were the tipping fees and associated costs to the city in 2005 through 2014 FY? Also, garbage was never “free” to the city or residents, so that’s misleading. Residents still paid for it via taxes, as you mentioned, so the word free doesn’t apply at all in this article.


    1. Yes, it was paid for by taxes. Now they want the citizens to pay for – all the while the total budget keeps going up and up and up. General Fund is up over $25 million in 5 years. So the total cost is being transferred to citizens, obviously so the City has money to spend on other things they want.


    2. The word “free” in this article is very useful. First of all, it garnered your interest and reply. Although using the term “free” is not totally accurate many times the term is readily acceptable by most reasonable people simply due to the fact that “it” is included with no additional cost. As I have been a taxpayer in this community for decades I used to think that in paying my taxes, “garbage,,,at least I got something for free.” Secondly there are some folks that don’t pay any taxes at all so maybe their garbage pick up is free.


  2. I’m not arguing that point, Diane. But I am asking if you have the associated garbage collection fees financials over this time period?


  3. The mayor, the city manager, many of staff, and especially the potted plants have no clue as to the economic reality of the world and how it will ultimately have a huge effect on this city. History will show what a complete and irresponsible mess they’ve made.


  4. So, if the costs to the city increased by 245%, you’d rather they just take that out of the current taxes and not pass any of it along in increased fees? Isn’t it an increase to the tax payer either way? Just curious on your position.


    1. Immaterial to the discussion. The City isn’t claiming costs went up. They bought new trucks and new cans to only have one guy driving instead of two. Why are you ignoring that?


    1. Fact: 10 years ago City covered the cost through taxes already paid.
      Fact: City General Fund spending has skyrocketed
      Fact: City no longer wants to subsidize what they used to pay all of
      Fact: They have no excuse other than than they don’t want to
      Fact: quit acting like raising taxes can be justified when they already raised taxes
      Question: Didn’t you leave office early?


  5. Those “facts” are unsupported with sourced facts. But that’s fine. If you don’t have actual numbers, I’ll look elsewhere.

    I’m not sure why my term is part of this, but no, I did not leave office early.


    1. Geesh dude did you read the article or just take off in an analytical direction of being the devils advocate? Diane clearly pointed out that the city’s noted agenda on this matter is to raise taxes and/or fees on refuse collection while spending money on a bunch of unnecessary expenditures. IF they weren’t coming up with so many wants to pay for, the numbers would not support the claimed need to raise refuse fees.

      The citizens survey and the citizens budget summit clearly identified that citizens concern is that the city spend money on needs not wants as would any house hold that is not rushing off towards a potential bankruptcy.


  6. I saw this posted in the paper used for bird cages by a commenter…..

    “I can’t help but wonder is this why king Hales was fired from Bend and the records are sealed?”

    Any truth to this? Anyone know?


  7. The point here is that garbage used to be a part of the city budget. Now it is an enterprise fund (I think that is what it’s called) where it has to pay for itself. What Diane is asking is if the budget has gone down by the amount of the fees now paid by the citizens or if the budget stayed the same which would be a stealth tax increase.

    I like garbage being an enterprise fund. It makes it clear how much it costs instead of being hidden in a budget somewhere. I’m paying for it either way, but now I know exactly how much I’m paying.


  8. If this fee kicks in you’ll see people dumping their solid waste items on side roads, at car washes, in business dumpsters, and in the front yards of the city manager, the mayor, and every alderman that voted for it. What fun!


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