By: Diane Benjamin
If you can’t wait to hear Public Comment from the pre-meeting concerning Jenn Carrillo’s Facebook post, just hit play below. It starts right after roll call. Another Public Comment session (much shorter) took place before the 6:00 meeting. It starts around 50:50.
Jenn Carrillo was not censured last night. The 6-3 vote against her was only to approve asking staff to address possible action. It sounded like a Code of Conduct would have a hard time passing. Since Bloomington is Home Rule, how about adding their own ordinance to remove elected officials? The State will likely never allow citizens to have a voice.
Connect Transit gave the budget presentation expected. It starts at 1:15:30. They have a $15,000,000 operating budget, only $1,242,500 is funded by users and advertising. Taxpayers of Bloomington will kick in $840,000, Normal $542,000. All the rest comes from State and Federal taxes.
Bloomington is also kicking another $681,581 for capital expenses – that’s a total of $1,451,681. Connect is excited about buying 4 electric buses this year and another 13 over the next 4 years. Of course the $18,000,000 downtown Bloomington transfer station will happen. Connect will get 100 bus stops fixed to be ADA compliant.
The meeting continued with PART 4 of solid waste. Riveting stuff that will affect Bloomington property owners. The City has been trying to make garbage pay for itself for many years. Keep in mind it used to be funded by taxes you already paid until the City discovered Enterprise Funds. Nothing they have tried has worked long term. This is yet another attempt, privatizing service is never an option.
This presentation starts at 1:38:00 – titled Findings and Recommendations.
The City will be making changes at the Convenience Center, if the Council approves. See the slide at 1:39:15.
Next jump to 1:43:56. Twice a year bulk pickup might be eliminated. The biggest problem is staff from other departments have to used for those pickups to get the entire City done in 2 weeks in the spring and fall. The next slide at 1:45:03 shows how much it costs. This would be replaced by monthly scheduled pickups. Areas of the City would have a specific calendar for bulk. 1:47:57 shows and additional charge however.
1:48:57. The biggest change would be requiring biodegradable leaf bags for collection. This would make pickup much easier and keep leaves from blowing around neighborhoods and clogging the sewer system. See 1:50:04. The City estimates this will save $230,000 a year in staff time.
At 1:51:10 there is slide showing items charged to the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund they want reclassified to the General Fund. Alley maintenance will transfer $210,000 out, snow and ice vehicles $605,000. Transfer will help the Solid Waste Fund, the General Fund would have to cover the additional expense.
This discussion is worth listening to. Council questions start at 1:53:51. Keep in mind, nothing changes before Council approves.