By: Diane Benjamin
Three people spoke at public comment in Bloomington last night, hear them beginning at 11:40. Gary Lambert spoke about credit card fees and the automatic increases to charges from Bloomington for services. He also mentioned the zoo snack bar, He would like to know how much money is being generated and if the investment of $1,00,000 was worth it. John Reed spoke next, he has a sewer problem causing water in his basement, after heavy rains around 7 inches. He claims the problems started years ago after sewer work and he wants to City to fix it. Scott Stimeling (?) spoke next, he speaks at most meetings about the storm drains that cause him flooding problems.
See 23:00 for a presentation about the Census. If you don’t complete the census, people will show up to your house 5 times before they attempt to get the information elsewhere. The speaker claimed every person not counted costs $15,000 over 10 years in lost federal money. Citizenship will not be asked.
See 48:00. Jamie Mathy asked if the SLBB payments are over yet. The answer was NO. I will file a FOIA when it is over to get the total cost of allowing people to spike pensions.
The budget was the big topic of the night. You can see the documents presented here: https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=24023
Many of the slides are the same ones covered from the last meeting. Fixing the roads is getting more money, it should since the gas tax was doubled. Road spending is always high the year before an election.
Somebody asked me why Champaign’s budget is lower than Bloomington when they have more people. The answer is simple: 3 golf courses, Zoo, Coliseum, BCPA, Creativity Center, and probably more I forgot!
See PDF page 12:
That $738,000 isn’t to replace O’Neill pool – it is to design a new one. $738,000! I’ve been told the residents just want a neighborhood pool like the worn out one they have now. Anybody believe that’s what the City is planning? A comment was made about design work being 10% of the total cost.
The County is in charge of the Route 66 Trail extensions. It is only being done because the Feds pay most of the bill. Has anyone ever studied how many people use it? I actually saw a guy using a bike lane downtown yesterday. On E Washington I’ve only seen Connect Transit buses and delivery vans using them. Who is doing maintenance on these trails? Is there a study to see if anyone uses these expensive trails?
The zoo project will only happen if a state grant comes through.
The Market Street Garage was a hot topic. Bloomington is currently doing a downtown parking survey. Take it here if you haven’t yet: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cob_parking_survey
See questions asked by Jamie Mathy around 1:10:00. Other Council people followed. Some questioned why more money is being put in the old garage, some wanted a plan to replace it. The $1,330,000 might extend the life another 5 -7 years. Supposedly 350 spaces are rented by the month to people who work downtown. The old State Farm building would have made a nice cheap parking lot if it hadn’t been stopped from being torn down. What about all the other empty buildings that nobody wants to pay to be torn down?
There is a LONG list of capital spending project. Browse them – PDF page 12-17.
Guess what is missing? An east-side fire station.
See 1:43:30 Chief Donath talked about this:
That long term storage facility is to store confiscated vehicles. According to the chief, they are required by Illinois law to keep them forever. They currently have 10-20. The money is coming from equitable sharing of income due to federal investigations involving homicides.
The City of Bloomington is being very transparent about the budget. It’s refreshing. Take time to scan the documents. Will we agree with all the spending? Not a chance.