Bloomington, still planning on how to give away money

By: Diane Benjamin

Alderman Julie Emig was absent, Dee Urban was sick but attended remotely.

The only item pulled from the Consent Agenda was a Liquor License so Grant Walsh could ask if a video gaming license was included. It isn’t because Bloomington limits the number of licenses.

FYI: Limiting licenses only enriches those who have one. I’m sure the current license holders don’t want more competition, Bloomington gladly complies and shuts the door on anyone else who wants to provide a legal activity. Limits don’t stop people from throwing away their money, it only limits who profits. The City could be making more money off licenses, the policy needs to change.

Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus and Director of Economic and Community Development Melissa Hon presented ideas for how to spend the balance of the ARPA funds.

It would have been nice if the camera person had shown the discussed slides on the video. Both speakers talked about them but nobody who wasn’t present got to see them. Later the City Manager and Finance Director slides were shown, the Tyus and Hon slides must be a secret. I don’t see them online but the City website is still a mess of outdated materials and categories that haven’t been updated for years.

Both Aldermen Donna Boelen and and Sheila Montney mentioned paying off the water bills landlords got stuck with when tenants didn’t pay them. It remains to be seen what staff will bring back, but they are looking at one time projects like rehab grants for the west side. Jeff Crabill mentioned funding a Community Navigator as requested by local non-profits to find housing for people who haven’t been able to. I doubt that will be brought back because funding would have to be continuous. Crabill did mention just forgiving part of the water bills mentioned above instead of using ARPA funds. A lottery would probably decide who receives grants.

City Manager Tim Gleason got a 3.5% raise with glowing accolades reported by the Mayor. The projects the former mayor Tari Renner instigated are now enacted – library and water park. From here whatever projects are dreamed up will be on Gleason. Since $750,000 has already been allocated to design a downtown streetscape, that albatross will be all his.

The Pride Fest kerfuffle over cleaning the street must have been bigger than media reported because Mkoka mentioned it during his mayor comments. Just hit play to hear him. The actual meeting was only around 1 1/2 hours, a township meeting was held before.

One thought on “Bloomington, still planning on how to give away money

  1. why does Bloomington even need a deputy city manager ? The city manager is hardly overworked and the city has no shortage of admin staff. Eliminate the deputy city manager position and use the money for pothole repair or water bill credits.

    Bloomington has too many unnecessary , do-nothing jobs that pay a high salary.


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