By: Diane Benjamin
Who makes better choices on how to spend your money?
Bureaucrats who don’t worry about running out of money
because they know where to get more?
It was very obvious at last night’s Bloomington City Council meeting that most of the aldermen have long wish lists for your money, not much interest in essential services or doing what they already do better.
Mboka read two proclamations including the one about gun violence. I think two people were there to receive that proclamation, Mboka didn’t say who he was handing it to. One masked lady commented but she didn’t speak into a microphone so what she said is a permanent mystery.
Two people spoke at public comment – see 42:00. The first speaker spoke about continual trash and bulk waste problems on the west side. She has contacted the City for at least 6 months with no success. She had a long list of complaints. The second speaker lives in Founder’s Grove. He had long time issues with a resident who suddenly moved. He wants to know if the City did their job so he can thank them, his alderman hasn’t responded (Emig). He also mentioned roads that weren’t finished after they started projects.
What’s on the city wish list for future spending? Besides the library and the water park, a new parking garage downtown, and new public works garage because large vehicles can’t fit in the one they have for repairs, police staffing, and ADA compliant sidewalks and curbs. The Council will be holding a priority setting retreat sometime in the spring or summer. The list will get longer.
The City projected ending this fiscal year with $34 million in reserve, don’t get excited though. Much of it is spoken for. The City does plan on paying cash for items they used to put on a credit card they call “lease”. The budget discussion needs to be another story, stay tuned.
Jamie Mathy’s claimed his initiative is about housing. He wants the Planning Commission and staff to come up with ideas to promote infill. He doesn’t want anymore sprawl to the East side because it costs too much. He gave the example of a fire station, he didn’t mention Normal also is planning to build one on the east side. Of course the 2 towns can’t work together! If Mathy is worried about building more infrastructure for east side development, he could make sure developers pay up. That was the problem at the Grove, Bloomington got stuck with bills instead of City buddies.
When a council initiative is on the agenda there isn’t supposed to be extended discussion. Aldermen are just supposed to vote yes or no on whether to hand it to staff. Of course that didn’t happen. See the discussion at 1:44:33. Sheila Motney, Donna Boelen, and Nick Becker voted no, all of the others were excited. 3 know government never creates prosperity, 6 don’t.
I suggest everybody watch some old episodes for Good Bones on Discovery+. A mother-daughter team revitalized entire neighborhoods near downtown Indianapolis after buying many dilapidated houses from the City for about $4000 each. They rehabbed entire blocks which spurred other flippers to join the party. Government just had to get out of the way. Of course that led to some neighborhoods becoming unaffordable, the team just moved a little farther away and started rehabbing other areas.
Of course Indianapolis has a downtown, Bloomington has decades of trying to make people believe downtown is vital.
The Executive Session was about settling a claim(s?). We will likely find out to who and for what at the next meeting.