By: Diane Benjamin
Tonight Bloomington will increase funding to help defray the cost to residents for installing an overhead sewer system. Current funding is $40,000, it will increase to $250,000. Residents are eligible for up to $4,500 after navigating the bureaucracy: https://www.cityblm.org/government/departments/community-development/overhead-sewer-grant-program-application
What is an overhead sewer? I found this article from a plumber in Chicago: https://www.jblantonplumbing.com/overhead-sewer-systems/
The website partially blames the sewer system that was built in the 1850’s. It also states the Chicago system is prone to problems.
The website doesn’t have any estimates of cost associated with installation. Bloomington residents will be responsible for any costs above the grant. Bloomington has no idea how many residents will want to participate. I don’t know how Bloomington gets around targeted help to individuals when the Illinois Constitution doesn’t allow it. Grants for outside work are a public purpose, inside is harder to make a case for.
Obviously Bloomington isn’t the only town with ancient infrastructure. When those elected and those they hire to run the town have more fun building what they think you want instead of providing essential services, you get ancient infrastructure. Think O’Neil Water Park, Library Rehab, Coliseum, BCPA, Creativity Center etc.
Understand Limited Government yet?
To speed up infrastructure improvements, the City wants to bypass your elected officials and allow the Mayor and City Manager to sign documents. The Council already meets 3 times a month. They can also call emergency meetings when necessary. Instead, an Administrative City is more convenient. Sound just like Congress? It’s a dangerous path, especially because the City Manager can spend $50,000 without Council approval. How much did it cost to move employees from City Hall to the Government Center without a Council vote? We have no idea!
Next see PDF page 179. The Council will consider 3 options for assisting residents with damage from the June floods.
- Create a fund with $250,000 for direct payments
- Decide on a program when State Funds available are below $100,000
- Favor the State program instead of local funding
Since redistribution of wealth is prohibited by the Illinois Constitution, it will be interesting to see how Option 1 is legal. That option also sets a dangerous precedence. Residents will think every “historic event” should be paid for by taxpayers.
It has been 3 months since the damage occurred. Have the affected residents figured out government isn’t the way to get help? They will still have to jump through hoops to ever get any assistance.
Meanwhile another storm could wipe out any improvements taxpayers fund because the sewer system is still years from being totally split.