Council – Bloomington last night

By:  Diane Benjamin

Every alderman managed to make it to the meeting last night!

Public comment start at 6:22.

Gary Lambert spoke at 9:30 about the council not releasing Executive Session minutes that are now over 10 years old.  He also mentioned his recent gas bill had municipal taxes higher than his natural gas cost.

Listen to the other comments.  None were earth shattering.

The Consent Agenda didn’t fly through the Council.  C, D, H, and J got pulled before the vote:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=22423

In the order discussed:

20:03

Crabill and Emig wanted electric garbage trucks instead of diesel because an ISU professor contacted them.  The purchase of 3 trucks got delayed for 30 days so staff can investigate the cost difference.  Jim Karch said previous investigations showed the technology isn’t ready yet for electric, but he agreed 30 days wouldn’t hurt.  The vote didn’t take place until 33:15.  It passed – Bray, Mwilambe, Boelen, and Mathy voted against the delay.

33:41

Black pulled renaming Mitsubishi Parkway only to ask about reimbursing businesses that would be affected.  Donna Boelen was against naming any streets after businesses because they come and go while streets remain.  Rivian didn’t meet their incentive goals last year.  She wants the City to be equitable to all businesses in order to be business friendly, she thinks it’s free advertising for Rivian.  She also claimed a small business contacted her and said their cost would be $5000 to change their website and advertising plan.  From previous discussions, Rivian agreed to reimburse expenses but a couple hundred bucks was discussed – not $5000.  Joni Painter also received a call from a business owner who claimed it would cost him $3000 – $4000 to change his marketing plan.  Painter voted YES anyway, Boelen and Carrillo voted NO.  The businesses affected are now left to fend for themselves.

42:29

Carrillo pulled funding for the Hamilton Road project.  She was the only no vote.

44:33

Painter read a statement she had prepared pulling two names from the list of Renner’s appointees to the Transportation Commission.  John Corey had applied for Connect Transit and Guadalupe Diaz had applied for Planning Commission.  Painter thought these two should be appointed to the Boards they applied for.  Both commissions have openings.  Corey is currently in the CT working groups and claims concerns are not being heard.  (No surprise there)  Tari attempted to justify not appointing them to positions they requested.  The motion was to approve all appointees except Corey and Diaz.  It passed 7-2, Crabill and Black voted no.

There was no no business.

1:04

It appears the group looking for a new police chief has reached a decision.  At 1:04 Tim Gleason mentioned an announcement would be made soon.  He used words like “credentialing”, I’m assuming he was talking about a chief.

Next Monday at the Committee of the Whole meeting the Council will hear from the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, Connect Transit, and will discuss video gaming.

Guarantee:  Connect Transit will not admit they have failed in their mission.  The mission isn’t to provide rides for people with no other options, so in their minds they haven’t failed.

1:09;45

Carrillo thanked the people who attended her listening sessions about the downtown State Farm building.

Maybe she can pay the upkeep and taxes for State Farm while her group ignores the wishes of the area’s largest employer and continues to cost them money.  I wonder if State Farm has issued a statement on the condition of the building?

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Council – Bloomington last night

  1. Wow…. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with Carillo on Hamilton Rd. It feels like that project has been ongoing forever and at some point enough is enough.

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    1. Negotiations with the railroad held up the completion of the section of road that transverses the tracks. Analysis paralysis by the Council was also a factor.

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  2. With the Rivian piece, wasn’t not meeting the incentives based on some purchases not coming through in time to qualify? If they end up adding the jobs, great. Even if it’s half of what they project, we sorely need them. I know of someone who just started there yesterday, so that was positive to hear. If they don’t meet projections as time progresses, they won’t get most of the incentives. I don’t agree with the Town of Normal covering all the costs of maintaining the property, but I don’t think I would characterize that they’re going to start missing all the targets.

    I do think they should set aside a fund – say $10,000 or $20,000, that businesses/people can seek reimbursement. I think the $3-5k piece is that people may have brochures printed up; they may have billboards up; they may have other physical stock of product that they have to replace. They may have to change signage on their property. To Alderman Mathy, it’s not just changing the name on a website. He is right that it’s easy, but he’s wrong to assume it was just that cost.

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    1. Highly unlikely. State Farm is smart enough to know that the City would make a taxpayer disaster out of its old HQ. They don’t want future media references to such a likely disaster to include “…the former headquarters of State Farm.” Big Red is making the right move by demoing the building and proceeding as they have, both in the financial and risk management sense.

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    2. Great idea Jim . Another white elephant to pay taxes on. You are either a out of towner or someone who loves to pay more in taxes. Turn SF building over to city? Why not CII east, Wards building,the old bowling alley,and the many other buildings around town? Buy SF building for 95 mil then turn around and allow Tari to give it away for one buck? Great idea.

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  3. Quite a potpourri of items. Where to begin? The Rivian street name request is ridiculous. If it were any other company, this would never see the light of day on the agenda. But because they’re in the inner circle, Rivian can get a street renamed because they want it. Mathy is way off base. It’s not just a reference on a company website, but other references in media, contact information, profiles, mailings, communications, Secretary of State, federal, state and other tax and regulatory offices to name a few. Of course, if you miss a filing deadline or fail to respond to a notice, blaming a street name change is unlikely to be viewed as a valid excuse. As a business owner who has changed office locations, it took several months before all of our clients and contacts finally sent mail to the new address. Sounds weird, but it takes a while for all clients, vendors, partners, etc. to update your business contact info no matter how many emails or notices you send. It’s annoying, especially if you have invoice payments and vital communications lost in space, as I did. As one who voluntarily moved, that’s on me and my company. Totally get it. However, when one business inconveniences other businesses because they want a street renamed in their honor, that’s just wrong. Electric garbage trucks? Really? These nuts are leading with ideology. (Not a surprise.) Get out the checkbook! Finally, I think Jenn and the community organizers trying to “help” with the State Farm building are only serving to worsen the already fragmented relationship between SF and City Hall. In the end, the outcome will be the same…a wrecking ball. This committee is an exercise in futility. So, you mean to tell me that this ragtag group of ideologues with next to zero collective business and/or real estate development experience is going to find a developer/buyer whereas a professional realtor motivated by a potential commission likely in the $100,000s and access to NMLS and a contact list full of qualified/interested parties could not? Seriously folks?! The members of this committee are delusional.

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    1. Perhaps after these buffoons are out of office, their replacements can rename their streets (Buffoon Blvd, Sycophant St, Asterisk Ave?) or those of their employers so they can see the real impact?
      Love the idea, but would just be more council stupidity with too much collateral pain.

      And people have focused on paper and process in the street name fallout – If any businesses have professionally done promotional videos, those can be pricey to redo!

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  4. So why isnt El Dorado road not named Denny’s Red Lobster road? Why isnt Mercer named Anglers/Westminster road? Why isnt Lincoln named Bortell Animal Hospital road? Rivian is like a cloudburst rain: here one minute and gone the next, if that.

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