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
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.)