By: Diane Benjamin
Bloomington is holding a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night. The main item on the agenda is presenting the Capital budget for next fiscal year. Luckily it is posted in advance of the meeting here: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/27623
The first page shows $7 million for asphalt and concrete, don’t get excited. Jump to page 6. $1,150,000 is going to sidewalks. $5,650,000 is for streets AND alleys. $200,000 looks like it is going to more streets, alleys, and sidewalks. (Think 50 feet at most)
$5,650,000 will not do anything to catch up from years of doing very little to maintain streets.
The City is spending a total of $56.9 million, streets just aren’t a priority.
Also on the Agenda are 3 council initiatives.
With current and future spending needs in mind, I believe we need to find ways to reduce costs in other areas as an offset to the coming spending. This efficiency gain can be a much better source of available money than increasing the taxpayer burden as well as overall spending. I am proposing that we start our efforts by focusing on options for consolidation and cooperation between entities and departments to gain the cost reductions and efficiencies.
The purpose of this Council Member Initiative is to propose the establishment of an advisory Green Infrastructure Commission. The damage caused by the June 2021 flooding demonstrated the importance of investigating and implementing, over time, research-based practices that are designed to mitigate storm overflows into combined sewer systems. An emphasis on green infrastructure, defined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as “any stormwater management technique or practice employed with the primary goal to preserve, restore, mimic, or enhance natural hydrology,” runs tandem with the City’s plan to conduct hydraulic modeling for an East Street Basin and select watersheds, included in the Sewer Master Plans (2014). Furthermore, it will “promote incorporation of green infrastructure planning and implementation strategies in new construction as well as redevelopment or rehabilitation of existing sites” (New Jersey Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit). The Green Infrastructure Commission will also fulfill a goal in the City’s Stormwater and Sanitary Sewer Master Plans to “educate and involve the public.” The City of Bloomington’s Green Infrastructure Commission will consist of members who have knowledge of infrastructure, environmental practices, planning, and education. Their role will be advisory, providing policy recommendations to the City Council and public.
That a Special Commission be created to develop a comprehensive plan to address the issue of gun violence locally by analyzing the scope of the issue and making recommendations for how to make our community a safer place for all. This commission would be culturally diverse and multi-disciplinary, drawing on the wisdom of experts and community members alike and including representation from non-profits, academia, and faith communities as well as governmental agencies.
Read more about all 3 here: