Recap of Bloomington last night

By: Diane Benjamin

33:10 – Mayor Mwilambwe recognized the 4 aldermen that are leaving office April 30th. Mboka gave a short speech and presented each with a plaque. (Remember when Normal totally ignored Stan Nord’s 4 years?)

Public comment starts at 44:00. Two speakers thanked their outgoing aldermen. Gary Lambert is a can’t miss at 45:50. Gary never fails to call out hypocrisy when he sees it.

Donna Boelen and Grant Walch were the only no votes on the Market Street Garage/Connect Transit partnership for a downtown transfer station. Both didn’t see a plan just an agreement that can’t be undone in the future. Grant nailed it at 1:13:55. It won’t matter how sideways this deal goes in the future. The next Council will not be able to stop it for any reason regardless of the Gleason speech that followed. It’s a lock.

Donna Boelen spoke at 1:17:20. Connect Transit only has 8% of all riders go to downtown Bloomington. She doesn’t see this arrangement as an economic driver for downtown. She also stated CT didn’t use due diligence when it first picked the old Pantagraph location that turned out not to be feasible. Donna’s comments were well thought out.

Contrast Donna with Molly Ward at 1:27:30 who thinks public transportation should be planned for all residents of Bloomington Normal. She believes ridership will increase. She’s also thrilled to quit spending money repairing the old garage. As Donna stated, previous councils wanted the garage replaced but it never happened. This deal is a way to get Connect Transit’s grants to pay part of the cost. That is why it passed.

Tim Gleason claimed it is his job to figure out where everyone will park during construction and where the Post Office will locate. Evidently the Market Street garage is the most used garage downtown.

Celebrate: The City will now favor minority and female owned businesses whenever possible. Equity has replaced meritocracy. This move is based on the DEI Michael Hurt presentation at last week’s meeting. They called it Equal Opportunity. Bids weren’t open to everyone in the past? Contractors of projects over $50,000 have to provide written evidence of how they tried to comply with City requirements. If they see fewer bids the reason will be obvious.

The Council heard the monthly finance report, Bloomington is swimming in money. The slides could not be seen fully on the video because they weren’t sized to fit on the screen. Last night’s presentation is available here:

Sheila Montney noticed something strange during the presentation. Salaries are up 25% in 2 years – see 2:06:20. That fact wasn’t explained well but likely because of a hiring frenzy trying to get back to 2010 staffing levels.

Keep in mind higher gas prices fill government coffers since they not only collect an .08 gas tax – they get sales tax too. The higher the price the more sales tax.

Tim Gleason did comedy at 2:12:00. He thinks shows at the Coliseum are about more than dollars and cents – they are about the experience. (I hear you laughing)

Grant Walch gave a GREAT comment about voting and running in local elections at 2:13:52. I wish he would have run. His seat wasn’t contested. Voters didn’t have a choice.

3 thoughts on “Recap of Bloomington last night

  1. How is Il. swimming in cash now? Same with Blm. Is this covid money? Il was always so broke what happened? Did Pritzker quit eating luch?

  2. Irony: The money wasted to put bandaids on Market Street Garage are a direct result of CT mismanagement.

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