Bloomington Budget cuts

By:  Diane Benjamin

Union employees at Mitsubishi Motors accepted a pay cut years ago.  Why can’t City employees?  This link shows the salary and benefits for 2014:  Comparable to the private sector?  Since payroll is a LARGE part of City expenses, how badly do the current employees NOT want to be on the chopping block?

This is a link to what the Budget Task Force is considering so far:

City Manager David Hales was on WJBC this week discussing the above.  He claims $3.6 million is spent on park maintenance.  Easy fix:  Require parks located in subdivisions to do their own maintenance.  Many have home owner associations and the parks are located there for the benefit of residents in the subdivision.  I have lived in subdivisions where homeowners took turns mowing etc.  It works.

Here’s another suggestion:  Quit “Measuring performance and targeting results”.  Part of the low employee morale is likely the bureaucracy they are forced to operate under.  Employees shouldn’t be forced to complete forms listing how much time it took, how many seconds got shaved off a response, etc etc.  Citizens judge performance, and the City is failing in many areas.  Let the employees do their job, not fill out paperwork.  Look at any of David Hales City Manager reports and you will see what I mean:

Another suggestion:  Ask employees what is non-essential.  Not management – employees.  Let them respond directly to the budget task force anonymously, post the responses.  Don’t just take them back to management – let the public see their responses.

Are the downtown bars going to be required to pay for their own security?

Is the Zoo required to break even?

Is the BCPA required to break even?

Specific cuts don’t need to be proposed – let the Zoo and BCPA figure out how to do it.

CUT David Hales Admin budget!

In 2010 – 597,570

In 2011 – 530,763

Proposed 2012 – $770,810  Page 171

ADMIN proposed for 2017:  $1,334,297   with maybe cuts of $187,512.  (Page 4 of the Budget Task Force doc)

Coliseum?  Funny how no one on the Council or the Budget Task Force is talking about concessions.  One more time:  John Butler WILL NOT provide reports showing gross concession sales by stand.  He will NOT provide proof of accuracy for what is paid to the City in commissions.  Another friend of government not held accountable!

I don’t see a ban on travel and businesses lunches either. A ban on consultants is also needed.  If an issue is that complicated, don’t do it.


18 thoughts on “Bloomington Budget cuts

  1. I was surfing the radio dial yesterday and heard a clip of Hales on WJBC. He said any cuts made would be cutting out muscle, not fat. They didn’t play the follow up question to that if there was one.


  2. Honestly a city manager earning nearly $230K not including benefits has to turn to a task force to address a budget shortfall needs to be terminated. There is the root of the problem.

    A city council less one doesn’t see this or what! I don’t know how visibly clear why this can’t been seen. Maybe someone needs to put up a lighted billboard to make it apparent.

    The taxpayers of Bloomington should be outraged and demand that the city manager be terminated.

    Guaranteed the shortfall won’t go away immediately but they can sure let that city manager go ASAP and let things ride until they get someone better and more qualified. Do it now before he qualifies for a pension hand out too.


  3. Any reductions at this time for police and fire is fear mongering, as people may question a sense of security. Such audacity to suggest the elimination of one assistant police chief rather than several of the assistant positions to city mgr David Hales of which are evidently in need of various appointed mayor favored citizen groups to do their jobs for them. As many before me have said, FIRE DAVID HALES! Do it now and save us from his pension!


    1. Honestly he is earning almost equivalent to what a physician at say for example OSF is earning.

      Hello, does anyone else see a problem with his qualification and education let alone the position he holds to earn what he does?


  4. NONE of the city administration EARN what they are paid-PERIOD! WHY should Hales get 200K a year? And Nora D @ $71K is a pure JOKE, she wasn’t worth $30K at “uptown” although she spend YOUR money like she was, ask her about the uptown “logo” and WHAT it cost from a CHICAGO firm, when there were people who could have done a better job here. How about a campaign to mail TARI brown bags from the store so he can BRING HIS OWN LUNCH to work and be IN the office rather then helping Sage reach maximum density?
    YEARS back Marlin Perkins ( Wild America-remember JIM?) visited the ZOO for junior zookeepers and was SUPPOSED To give a talk and greet. He was so disgusted with the conditions that he walked out after about 5 minutes. No reason golf shouldn’t pay for itself-heck, what’s $20 when clubs cost $300 for a Big Berth? Bottom line is there is WAY too much redundancy in city government that it trips over itself, and it’s OUR money that suffers.


  5. The tone of any organization comes from the top. If there is low morale then Hales needs to change something about himself. Maybe start with spending less time making doing cya tasks.

    Maybe somebody here can help me understand what exactly Hales is supposed to do. It seems to me like a lot of decisions he is making should be done by the department heads who report to him. I view his role similar to a school superintendent who is accountable to the board of education. Superintendents don’t have lots of administrative staff reporting directly to them like Hales does.


    1. His duties can be found on the City website under Ordinances: Chapter 2: Sect. 38,39,40,41. He’s failing on many fronts!


  6. Can’t cut 7 million dollars out of the budget to close the gap as long as police and fire are off the table. It’s just not there. Taxes pay for services, roads, and quality of life amenities (important for all kinds of reasons, including economic development, IMO). Some sort of tax increase and fee increases will be absolutely necessary. Or we decide to live in a 3rd world city.


    1. How did people survive before the Coliseum and the BPCA? I know somebody may die without 3 golf courses. Seriously? The bar owners can’t pay for their own security? David Hales needs TWO assistant Managers? There is pork all over. The Coliseum is paying two full time managers and hiding part of the income generated. Nobody is looking very hard.


      1. I can “survive” in a tent and boil my own water. I’m not advocating no change in services. I know there are areas to cut. But there aren’t 7 million dollars in cuts. It’s going to have to be a mixture of revenue increases for the City and cuts for those us who live here.


    2. When they’ve proved time and again that they are not good stewards with our money then they don’t deserve to get more of our money. Maybe you missed the conversation about the frivolous amounts of money that the morons in city hall (starting at the top, Hales, Renner) waste. That’s why raising taxes and fees are not acceptable as these fools will waste that and still want more. They need to collect debts and better manage or get the hell out! Fire David Hales!


  7. As of April 30, 2014, CIAM owes the City $2.6M which is over and above the $2.4M the City pays for capital improvements and the debt for the Coliseum. There are several developers who owe the City a significant amount of money in fees. So, not only is there pork, debts have not been collected. All of this adds to the budget gap. Continuing to raise sales tax will only reduce the amount of expendable income and therefore have little effect on overall revenue.


    1. Here are some more factoids: Budget Report–Year ending April 30, 2014
      1. Revenue decreased by 1.4%
      2. Expenditures increased by 4.6%
      3. City Council amended (added to) the budget in the amount of $11M
      4. Coliseum, an Enterprise Fund: Expenditures increased 25%
      5. Solid Waste, an Enterprise Fund: Expenditures increased just 6.5%
      6. Storm Water Management, an Enterprise Fund, (paid through your water bill): Expenditures decreased 26% over revenues. (where did that money go?)
      7. Storm Water Management: salaries and benefits had significant decreases.

      This year, $500,000.00 from MFT Fund was transferred to pay for street light maintenance.

      Does anyone see a trend here?


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