Last night’s show

By:  Diane Benjamin

It’s hard to know where to start with the marathon meeting.  Just the council meeting was almost 3 hours long.  That’s after a special meeting was held and Bloomington Township meeting.  The Council were captives from 5:00pm until almost 10:00.

If you don’t know what a PROGRESSIVE is, you should.  It’s a person who believes government needs to solve problems and they must keep trying even though they fail over and over and over.  They have no problem taking more of your money because “progress” must be made.   This isn’t a Democrat problem, both parties have big government people who think it’s their job to run your life because they know better.

Progressives were on full display last night, even the term was used many times.  Plan, plan, plan – and never solve the problems because your job would be eliminated if things got fixed.

Start with “Complete Streets”.  As the discussion unfolded we learned a few things.  The Federal government is pushing this using their favorite tool:  Do what we say or you won’t get any money.  The goal is narrow streets that reduce speeds.  Alderman Buragas even mentioned we have to quit “overbuilding” infrastructure.  She talked about making streets safe for everybody.  I guess that means limiting cars to the same speed as bikes and pedestrians.  Yes, it will cost more money.  Alderman Lower is the still the only voice on the Council who believes basic services need to be funded before “trends”.  The discussion starts around 2:00:00 – see the video below.

It looks like Alderman Sage won’t be voting for Tari Renner for re-election.  Last night Sage had a problem with the consent agenda.  Normally items get little attention because most are routine.  Last night providing free solid waste service for the David Davis Mansion raised Sage’s ire.  Not the free service – but changing POLICY on the consent agenda.  Start watching around 36:00, the back and forth went on for several minutes with Renner interrupting Sage and Sage punching back.

Also on the Consent Agenda was ratifying one of Bloomington’s numerous union contracts.  Jim Fruin pulled the contract from the consent agenda to discuss benefits.  Start watching at 54:00.  I sent this story to Alderman Fruin because he had mentioned benefits at a previous meeting:

Of course he didn’t mention the article, but he made it clear that government benefits are way beyond what the private sector provides.  David Hales claimed it was impossible to get information from the private sector, that was bull.  Copy your plan summary sheet and send it to him!  Alderman Mwilambwe took issue with Fruin’s comments.  Mboka and his wife are employed by ISU and therefore already gets benefits the private sector doesn’t get – think pensions.  He also claims the private sector gets bonuses while the public sector doesn’t.  Anybody getting big bonuses out there?  Alderman Lower made a profound statement that change begins at the top.  The next City Manager should see cuts – like the $500 per month car allowance and lavish benefits.  It’s difficult to change the City culture when the top isn’t hurting.

Discussions like these say A LOT about the how aldermen think.  The back and forth lasted 6-7 minutes, worth your time just for the insight.  The budget called for a “Compensation Consultant” – $19,000.  We found out last night that benefits aren’t included in that study.  The results will be coming soon.

Other items of note:

Bloomington taxpayers will be paying for WayFinding.  The Signage Committee was in a tizzy over the great consultant they found for $62,190.  For that amount the Council will only get recommendations and a plan.  The cost will come later.

You paid $6,000 to power wash three downtown streets for the music festival last weekend.  Maybe weed pulling was included.

Bloomington is getting another TIF district downtown.  It is obviously aimed at getting a parking garage for the Coliseum and a hotel.  My guess is a Jiffy Lube wouldn’t be allowed.

10 thoughts on “Last night’s show

  1. Alderman Mwilambwe’s comment about the private sector getting bonuses is bogus. The average non-government worker does not nor has not received bonuses. Any year end “Christmas Bonus,” if given, was in the spirit of the holiday and is in no way equivalent to government employee benefits.

  2. I am sick and tired of Tari plugging his open house as an alternative to public comment. At Open house, the rest of the Council is not present. It’s obvious Tari thinks Council doesn’t need to be included as evidenced by Sage’s frustration him.

      1. Yes, there is pontification and interruption by the Mayor not much resolution to problems. Usually a Council member is present as well as a Staff member but they sit quietly unless addressed by the Mayor.

  3. One of the benefits for ISU employees is that their children get 50% off of tuition. IWU may have this perk as well. I would consider this a sizeable bonus!

  4. Sage asking a tough question that the mayor sidesteps and then he votes for the issue anyway. Typical Sage.

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