By: Diane Benjamin
From the Council meeting held October 8, 2012 where the Zoo Master Plan was passed (Stockton was still Mayor)
Paying for the flamingos are now considered a contract! Tari claims if the Council doesn’t vote Monday night to spend the money, the zoo will never be able to raise money again. The Council passed a Master Plan because Stockton and Hales told them they had to. Now they HAVE to fund it. I bet you can’t wait for the Downtown Master Plan, the Bike Master Plan, Streets Master Plan, Sewer Master Plan, and Sidewalks Master Plan. Grab your wallet!
Do you ever hear citizens mentioned in “Quality of Life”? Isn’t it always about attracting millennials and new businesses? The people living in Bloomington, and paying the City’s bills, are immaterial. If they can’t afford to live in Bloomington because “Quality of Life” spending and taxation is excessive, who cares? Did the Zoo keep GE, Electrolux, Eureka, State Farm, Mitsubishi, KMart, Cub Foods, etc etc? What businesses located here because Bloomington has a Zoo? (or Coliseum, BCPA, 3 golf courses, 2 pools, etc)
Here’s an idea: Put a referendum on the next ballot and let citizens vote on “Quality of Life” spending. I predict the Zoo will be supported, the Coliseum and the BCPA won’t. Golf may or may not pass muster. There is a primary election next March – right before the next budget. I dare you Tari. Of course, what citizens want doesn’t matter, right Tari?
Remember Monday night that every dollar the Council votes to spend is being stolen from your pocket – with or without your approval.
Didn’t the $700,000 Zoo Grant from the State get cancelled by Gov. Rauner?
Fact: The Zoo doesn’t come close to breaking even. Adding flamingos is expected to bring 3-5% (the number keeps changing) more people to the zoo. Increasing attendance still won’t allow the zoo to quit sucking money from the City budget. Add the additional costs of construction and what the City contributes will NEVER result in a payback. Expenses at the Zoo will skyrocket with more animals to feed!
Below are some Zoo facts from the City website:
On September 12, 2011 City Council approved a $126,230 contract with WDM Architects to prepare a master plan for Miller Park Zoo. The Miller Park Zoological Society (MPZS) agreed to fund $116,230 for this master plan, with the remaining $10,000 funded within the Miller Park Zoo’s operating budget. A Master Plan is needed for the Miller Park Zoo to demonstrate a roadmap for what the facility will look like over the next twenty years. http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?recordid=40&page=18 (See above – they don’t have money in their operating budget)