The Budget Workshop that wasn’t

By:  Diane Benjamin

Thanks to Steve Vogel who today mentioned in his weekly column that Bloomington is in a recession.  Moody’s Analytics  reported that in January (and so did I), but the media has been ignoring it.

Anyone who attended the Bloomington “Budget Workshop” today would have seen Bloomington is also ignoring that fact.  If you thought the Council was going to go through the budget line by line and set priorities you must think the Council actually manages the City Manager.

The police station, where the workshop was held, is locked on the weekends.  I didn’t attend the beginning, so I had to use a phone between the double doors to be let in.  The presentations could easily have been made in the Council Chambers were it could have been live streamed.   Obviously Renner/Hales didn’t want it live streamed – just like every other year.  The majority of attendees were City staff with a few citizens thrown in.

Each Department head gave their 5 minute spiel with very few questions asked by the Council.  I’m sure all these City employees want to do the best job possible, all they need is more money and personnel to achieve utopia.

Nobody asked how much government the people paying their bills can afford.

Nobody asked what government’s role in Bloomington is.

Nobody asked why the budget has exploded.

Nobody asked if the proposed budget is smart in a recession.

Nobody asked why consultants are needed for everything – many departments mentioned using them.

Nobody asked HR or Legal when the ordinance to stop pension spiking will be brought to Council.

Contract negotiations will be starting with 8 of the City’s 11 unions.

The Springfield law firm getting huge bucks every month has 8-10 lawyers that do work for the City.

HR mentioned they are looking at benefits, the consultant’s report you paid for isn’t available.

This government is working for government, not taxpayers.

If the budget ever got discussed, nobody heard it thanks to where today was held.


Some history for you:

2008 – Full time employees:  690 Source    Total budget:  $164,827,731

2009 – Full time employees: 599  Source    Total budget:  $165,243,529

2010 – Full time employees:  568  Source   Total budget:  $145,863,540

2011 – Full time employees:  549  Source    Total budget:  $146,084,192

2012 – Full time employees:  581  Source    Total budget:  $165,334,396

2013 – Full time employees:  583  Source   Total budget:  $167,503,453

2014 – Full time employees:  592  Source   Total budget:  169,633,232

2015 – Full time employees:  583  Source  Total budget:  $180,686,063

2016 – Full time employees:  619  Source   Total budget:  $186,568,210

2017 – Full time employees:  622  Source   Total Budget:  $207,620,55  Source


2018 – Full time employees:  626  Source   Total Budget:  $213,830,887

Most of these numbers are what the City reported to the Comptroller’s office.  The actual number of employees tends to differ depending on the source.

Either citizens can elect different people April 4th or wait for the budget to collapse in on itself like it did in 2008.  (No national recession needed, Bloomington already has their own.)






8 thoughts on “The Budget Workshop that wasn’t

  1. Mini Madigan is in charge in Bloomington. Robbing Peter to pay Paul thus adding to the recession woes and driving the city off of a cliff with another structural deficit. God help us all!!


  2. Businesses around here are getting fewer and fewer. I agree this area is in a recession.
    I tried to find someplace that sold a USB to SSD cable. Computer Deli has closed and good luck buying that at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc. I ended up buying from Amazon. No local business was used.

    Look at the condition of the streets. If I was living on State Street off of Oakland Ave. north I would have been complaining to the city every day that intersection was closed. It took them well over a month to get that fixed.

    You drive down Veteran’s Pkwy and the signal light timing is all messed up. I swear the department that is in charge of that everyone should be terminated. Why is it that this city is so far behind in letting traffic make a left turn on a yellow arrow? No where it seems it is allowed.


      1. I was told and I believe it has been several Pantagraph articles that the city sets the timing on those signal lights. They can’t even do that right.

        A bigger question now is the audit of the elephant done. I suppose by now you have seen the article in the local gossip newspaper. It makes you wonder what the ISP is digging into and building a case for.


    1. Marc, the new budget calls for hiring a traffic engineer. Salary is probably at least $60,000 plus benefits. It will take 10 years to get the streets to the level of “fair.” Then the cycle will have to repeat.


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