By: Diane Benjamin
The Bloomington City Council spent around 45 minutes discussing the language for the new Concrete and Asphalt Fund which obviously didn’t mean ONLY concrete and asphalt. See this story for more background: https://blnnews.com/2019/04/06/bloomington-moday-agenda/
Even though City Manager Tim Gleason claimed “concrete and asphalt” around 1:01:00 the ordinance still had infrastructure wording – meaning your increased taxes for roads could be spent on many things including lighting downtown. Gleason claimed that spending would not come from this new fund, the ordinance wording said it could. The City is creating a new website to track where the Local Motor Fuel Tax and increased Sales Tax goes: Bloomington Streets.com. It should be live in a few weeks.
Alderman Bray presented changes to the ordinance that staff had seen, citizens didn’t get to see it though. It failed to get support. Alderman Buragas wanted brick streets included even though the entire amount of increased taxes could be spent on brick and only benefit a tiny percent of the citizens. Of course she mentioned the Brick Street Master Plan that was never just a suggestion – it must be implemented!
The ordinance got tabled until the next meeting. It is an easy fix: Concrete and Asphalt ONLY – just delete infrastructure. (Unless that was never the intent of the ordinance)
One note: When the original $.04 Motor Fuel Tax was passed, the City predicted it would raise $1,00,000 while the budget claimed $2,400,000 the next year. The estimated revenue was only off $1,400,000! That ordinance also claimed it would be used for “transportation infrastructure”. https://blnnews.com/2018/04/25/local-motor-fuel-tax-facts/
The 25% Sales Tax for roads claimed it would generate $2,400,000 for roads when it was passed: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=9197
This year $2,340,000 was budgeted for Local Motor Fuel Tax. The expected revenue keeps changing. How much ends up in the Concrete and Asphalt Fund will be interesting. We have no way to verify whatever amount ends up in the fund.
Alderman – elect Donna Boelen spoke about this ordinance during public comment. Dale Naffziger followed her. Dale talked about being taxed to death and living within a budget. His comments are worth your time. Just hit play to hear both, fast forward to 1:01 to hear the ordinance discussion.