By: Diane Benjamin
I attended the Roundtable council meeting held today at the Police Station. Only 4 alderman attended: Black, Hauman, Painter, and Schmidt. Mayor Renner did not, but maybe 10-12 staff people were there. I don’t personally know many of the staff, so it’s difficult for me to determine who was there.
Many citizens attended, maybe another 10-12. Members of the media were also present. I do have video of the meeting, but I don’t think enough content is worth watching to post it. I will review it and maybe clip parts later.
A large part of the meeting was very positive. Karen Schmidt had compiled as long list of items the council needs to discuss cutting, revising, or taking off the table. A lot of time was spent deciding how to deduce the list to the most critical items and then act on them. An attempt will be made to get all alderman to respond by rating the items listed.
Top items on the list appear to be:
- Downtown Hireback
- Privatization of services
The Coliseum wasn’t mentioned that I heard. (I did have to take a phone call and was out of the room for a few minutes)
Other items mentioned:
- Hiring Consultants
- creating a Park District
The Council members present were obviously frustrated that some topics like Downtown Hireback has been discussed for years without any progress towards a solution. Questions about solid waste fees or privatization have also been discussed for years.
(No one on the Council noticed that nothing is done because David Hales doesn’t do his job. He is incapable of making a decision or presenting options for which he might be blamed.)
I’ve watched the Bloomington City Council for years. Occasionally an alderman will want information from the City or want staff to research a problem and report to the Council. The last case I remember is when the Coliseum Management wanted approval for semi-pro hockey. Alderwoman Stearns only voted yes because David Hales promised an open review of the entire operation. It never happened. When Stearns questioned Hales, he reported it was done.
These 4 alderman need to lead the rest of the Council, Hales, and Renner to goals. First they have to get on the agenda. Normally the agenda is set by Hales and a huge packet dropped on the Council a few days before the meeting. They must demand action or this will be another worthless meeting.
If taxpayers were counting on some fiscal restraint and austerity until finances improve, it’s not going to happen.
The Budget Task Force recommended no new programs. Today the Council stressed concentration on core services and infrastructure.
I asked, for the record, if new spending plans for downtown are brought to the Council, will the answer be NO. Here’s the answer. The final voice heard on the video is Joni Painter.