By: Diane Benjamin
Spending priorities at the City of Bloomington have ZERO to do with what citizens expect them to fund: Police, Fire, Water, Sewer, Storm Water, Roads. If they could get by with taxing you for calling 911 they would.
The City of Bloomington created Enterprise Funds to make it easier to take more of your money. The funds have to balance, therefore “fees” are increased until they do. The Coliseum is an Enterprise Fund that doesn’t have to balance. The BCPA is not in an Enterprise Fund because it would be yet another one that doesn’t balance.
This note is in the Financial Statements for the year that ended April 30, 2010. It looks like Solid Waste was part of the General Fund and not yet a separate Enterprise Fund.
PDF page 30 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=2068
Solid Waste has since been put in an Enterprise Fund as described in this paragraph from the 2018 financial statements: PDF page 22 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20281
The General Fund pays for day-to-day City operations.
The total General Fund Revenue, which included Solid Waste, in 2010 was $81.6 million, Expenditures were $74.7 million. PDF page 32 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=2068
Now see PDF page 118. A line item shows $3,211,033 from the General Fund for Highways and Streets.
Pause here for a recap: In 2010, Solid Waste was funded from the General Fund through taxes and fees you already paid. Since there was no Local Motor Fuel Tax for streets, at least some of that money also came out of the General Fund.
Jump forward to the proposed budget for next year: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=21175
- PDF page 2 shows the General Fund budget is $105.8 million (without solid waste and roads).
- Solid Waste is now in an Enterprise Fund, in 2010 it wasn’t.
- Solid Waste fees have increased more than once so the fund balances.
- In 2010 the General Fund included subsidizing Solid Waste (yes-repeating myself)
- Since there was no Local Motor Fuel Tax until 2014, at least some money spent on streets also came out of the General Fund.
- The only proposed street funding now comes from the 2014 Motor Fuel tax and the Sales Tax that was also increased in 2016 https://blnnews.com/2019/02/23/run-by-jackaes/
General Fund spending as presented is $24.2 million more than in 2010. It is actually much more, but it is impossible to compare apples to apples. Spending from the General Fund in 2010 for Solid Waste and Roads is distorted by fund transfers and grants.
The point is:
Without a gas tax increase, the only money the City of Bloomington is going to spend on streets comes from taxes that have been raised since 2010:
- Local Motor Fuel Tax
- Sales Tax
Back just a few short years ago spending for things you are now charged more for came out of the General Fund. So why is the General Fund more than $24 million higher now?
Part went to pension funding because Springfield refuses to face that pensions are not sustainable. Part went to salary increases for employees and new employees. Part is sitting in the property on N Main Tari bought without a plan in 2016 (other than to prevent anybody else from buying it). Part went to buy the Sugar Creek Packing property in 2015. Where the rest of it went would take a lot more investigation. (I bet readers can think of more)
Now the City claims they can’t spend more money on roads unless you pay more! That proves they are incompetent in the handling of your money. There is always plenty of money for their priorities, nothing for yours.
Normal has announced if Bloomington raises their Motor Fuel Tax they will too. Ditto for video gaming fees. In the private sector that’s called price-fixing and it is illegal.
Neither City realizes a gas tax is not only regressive, it’s oppressive as it hits poor people the hardest. Meanwhile, electric vehicles don’t pay motor fuel taxes and they can get a free charge courtesy of you! Your government forces you to pay for free charging stations at numerous locations around both towns. Uptown is one of them: https://blnnews.com/2019/01/31/subsidizing-wealth/
Not voting has consequences, it will only get worse in the future.