By: Diane Benjamin
(Something isn’t right about the Habitat solar panels, I’m waiting to hear back from an expert.)
The $135,000 sales tax rebate to Habitat got tabled. Austin Grammer stated the City asked Habitat how they could help them with their project. In other words, the City volunteered to give them money. Solar panels is what they landed on. That comment is at 1:00:00. It’s easy to justify spending money. Any project can be made to sound worthwhile and fabulous. Grammer did that. Several Council members brought up good points, hence the table. Those comments follow Austin.
Amelia Buragas was the only Alderman to not sign the request for a resolution declaring moving the library dead. She still wasn’t giving up on moving it last night even though the library board voted to build where they are. See her comments at: 1:32:22. Black signed the resolution and then voted with Buragas.
The City is moving to save money! Watch Nicole Alberston at 1:49. The cost of employee health insurance isn’t rising as fast anymore with changes they have made. In addition, spouses of employees already covered elsewhere will not be allowed on the City plan. The unions have to agree though. If they don’t agree, just make the employee pay the entire cost and quit subsidizing it. Who is covering the kids? I don’t know. The City will also save money by leaving positions open for 90 days unless the City Manager deems them critical.
Congrats to Amelia Buragas for asking about the February 12th minutes I wrote about yesterday: https://blnnews.com/2018/03/26/another-bloomington-oma-violation/
The City Clerk claimed she was waiting for more suggestions from the Council on what should be included. It’s a tough job to distill the kerfuffle down to just the facts. Maybe the City needs a clerk who can.
The rest of the meeting was finding new revenue by raising fees on lots of things with automatic increases every other year. The actual fee increase language is coming back to a future meting. I find it funny they call this Cost Recovery. In other words, everything the City does must pay for itself (except the Coliseum and BCPA). This pasted without dissent.
Parking downtown will get you a ticket faster than it used to. The garages will be automated meaning more enforcers will be available. Parking for special events will cost more too. Mathy and Black voted against this one.
Businesses are going to be licensed just to raise $200,000. David Sage was out sick, the vote was 4 to 4, so Renner broke the tie by voting yes. Remember when apartments were licensed for a nominal fee? It wasn’t long after that the fee skyrocketed. This business license will apply to apartment owners, so much for affordable housing. The lack of affordable housing lies at the feet of this taxing Council.
Note: None of these fees would have been required if the Council had the guts to cut anything! The staff is doing a better job at cutting than the Council ever has.