By: Diane Benjamin
More follow-up to this story: https://blnnews.com/2019/03/20/huge-bloomington-error/
According to the letter the City of Bloomington sent, the original fee for “fire protection” went into effect on January 1, 2009. That means the Council vote was sometime in 2008. Documentation on the City website only goes back to 2009. That means I have no idea what logic was used to enact the fee in the first place.
That 2008 Council passed the schedule for the increases. Unless the City wants sued, they have to realize staff has no authority under the law to change what the Council passed!
Arbitrarily changing an ordinance because the City did not comply since 2010 is not a legal reason for staff to enact it now.
The City Council needs to rethink the fee. Businesses subject to this fleece in Bloomington are put at an unfair advantage since Normal does not charge it.
Something else the Council should consider: Most, if not all, of the supposed 1200 businesses were required by law to have fire suppression equipment. Is it fair to charge them more only because they were forced to install it? How much are these businesses saving the City by attacking a fire themselves instead of waiting for the Fire Department to show up?
Since the City code states the rate is now $27.20 per inch, the City would likely have more legal authority to just charge that instead of creating their own schedule.
What are they afraid of? Taxpayers?