Bloomington’s Resurface $$$ History

By: Diane Benjamin

Back in 2015 I did a story with this screen shot from the City website:

Who was Mayor in 2000 when ZERO was spent on roads? Judy Markowitz. Mike Matejka was on the Council, and Tom Hamilton was City Manager. Minutes are not available on the City website.

Of course the value of a dollar in 1994 isn’t the same as 2019. This website allows conversion to current dollars:

It shows $627,080 converts to $1,069,573 today. If you care, calculate the rest yourself.

I asked Jim Karch what has been spent on resurfacing since.

He said 2015 should be $2,300,000 instead of $2,000,000

2016 was $3,600,000. 2017 was $4,400,000. 2018 was $4,000,000

Tari Renner was first elected in April of 2013. The budget covering May 2013 through April 2014 was already done. The $10,000,000 was borrowed in 2014 when he was mayor.

Look at 2010-2013. There was no Motors Fuel Tax or an additional 1% Sales Tax. This spending increase came out of taxes citizens already paid.

Now look at Tari’s tenure. Suddenly there isn’t any money available for resurfacing. He switched spending on roads to NEW taxes. That allowed him to reallocate money for his pet projects like buying the Sugar Creek Packing land and the North Main property. The MFT was instituted in 2014, and the additional .25% of the 1% increase was allocated to roads in 2015. That tax wasn’t effective until 1/1/2016.

One more note: The Council has NEVER come close to funding what Jim Karch said he needs:

Increasing the Motor Fuel Tax only hastens Bloomington’s decline. Taking more money out of your pocket means you have less money to spend everywhere else.

Meanwhile the County roads are incredible in comparison. We have heavy trucks, farm equipment, ice, snow, and salt. Drivers don’t have to play “dodge the potholes”.

Maybe the buses are Bloomington’s problem, we don’t have those in the country.

7 thoughts on “Bloomington’s Resurface $$$ History

  1. Took a few pictures of an empty bus yesterday. The advertisement…all taxpayer funded. BN Advantage and WGLT. Ironically it was going down Market Street..or as I like to call it Pot Hole Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bottom line: Tari NEEDS TO GO! He has been the WORST mayor (or representative) that this city has EVER had, and that’s some tough competition when you throw in Stockton and Markowitz..
    The council seats NEED some “dusting” also..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another problem that’s worth mentioning, and is virtually not at all discussed by politicians, is the severe lack of competition in the asphalt industry down here. Resurfacing projects across the board are increasing drastically in cost because there are only two asphalt companies in McLean County. They’re UCM/Rowe and McLean County Asphalt. They don’t compete with each other, but instead work together most of the time. By doing this, they get to bid pretty much as high as they want without any worry of being underbid. With more competition in the county, costs for these projects may not be as high. Now I’m certainly not defending the policies of Bloomington or Normal officials, but this is part of the discussion that is never talked about.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard that too. The city chooses recyclable asphalt to save money but it does not last as long as the new stuff. Deceive to achieve. It looks good going down to fool the serfs.


  4. TWO comments, in brief. McLean County Asphalt was bought by UCM. So that leaves 2, neither of which will “sell” asphalt to anyone from out of town. Secondly, “recycled asphalt” is the grindings from streets, roads etc, when they go to resurface them. Customers buy this at a CHEAP price for a sub base OR farmers,etc, use it for lanes, lots etc, as it DOES pack well, and is economical. What most of you see the city doing is using “cold mix” which is asphalt that is made and stored and used as patching, upon which it is SUPPOSED to be tamped down or it WILL NOT stay in place, which is WHY it comes out of the holes and sticks to your vehicle..
    Bottom line. the streets SHOULD NOT need patching, we SHOULD have GOOD STREETS!! we have some of the HIGHEST tax rates in the country and the WORST streets, so WHERE is the money going? I challenge either KOOS or RENNER to give an HONEST answer to this one-without help from Matejka.
    As an aside, a friend of mine was here Wednesday from Springfield, no less, and even commented on how horrible our streets are, now THAT’S bad!

    Liked by 1 person

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