Big meeting makes little progress on convention center expansion agreement, smaller group to try again

In three weeks, a group of four city and county officials will try to achieve what a larger group of 13 electeds could not accomplish on Monday night.

Monday’s meeting was the third one this year that has tried to build on some momentum from December, when Bloomington and Monroe County officials finally agreed that a capital improvement board (CIB) would provide the governance structure for the project.

If the details can be worked out, the idea is for the county commissioners to create a CIB, so that an architect can be put under contract for the design and construction phase of a planned $44-million convention center expansion project.

The project has been stalled over governance issues for nearly 10 months—since May 19 last year when a steering committee voted to recommend a northward expansion of the convention center.

The next public meeting, now pencilled in for March 23, will include just one county councilor, one city councilmember, one county commissioner and Bloomington’s mayor.

The four will try to hammer through the points of disagreement about the four-way interlocal agreement that is supposed to help guide the governance of the convention center expansion project. Continue reading “Big meeting makes little progress on convention center expansion agreement, smaller group to try again”

Vote on governing entity for convention center expansion project put off until Jan. 8 as more time needed to dot i’s in CIB ordinance

Two years and five days ago, Monroe County commissioners councilors voted 4–3 to enact a 1-percent food and beverage tax.

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From left: Monroe County commissioners Lee Jones, Julie Thomas, Penny Githens at their Dec. 18, 2019 meeting. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The convention center expansion, which the tax is supposed pay for, will need to wait a few more weeks to get a governance structure.

Monroe County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to put off until Jan. 8, 2020, a draft ordinance that would have exercised their power under a state statue to adopt an ordinance establishing a capital improvement board (CIB).

Chair of the board of commissioners, Julie Thomas, said the ordinance was “not quite ready for prime time.”

But it appears that the city of Bloomington and Monroe County have put the major differences behind them that have stalled the project since late May.

Formation of a CIB, which is now expected early next year, will answer the question of governance for the long-planned convention center expansion project.

The timing of holidays this year means that no meetings of the commissioners will take place over the next two weeks. That makes Jan. 8 the next possible regular meeting for the CIB ordinance enactment. Continue reading “Vote on governing entity for convention center expansion project put off until Jan. 8 as more time needed to dot i’s in CIB ordinance”

A capital improvement board for convention center governance as soon as Wednesday?

Based on discussion at a meeting of Bloomington and Monroe County officials last Thursday (Dec. 12), a capital improvement board could be established as soon as this Wednesday to provide governance for an expanded convention center.

Thursday morning’s meeting of the county council and the county commission was attended by deputy mayor, Mick Renneisen. Continue reading “A capital improvement board for convention center governance as soon as Wednesday?”

Monroe County commissioners want convention center deal done sooner than end of year, Bloomington city council OKs revised food and beverage tax request

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Monroe County commissioners at their Dec. 4, 2019 meeting. From left: Lee Jones, Julie Thomas, Penny Githens. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Some increased pressure on Monroe County’s board of commissioners and Bloomington’s mayor generated some activity on Wednesday, if not progress, on the question of the stalled convention center expansion project.

In a week, it likely will be easier to tell how much of the activity counts as progress.

Late last week, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, and county elected officials started an extra push for a speedier resolution to the disagreements between the city and the county that have stalled the project since late May.

Part of Hamilton’s push included relenting on the question of equal representation for governance of the expansion project. Hamilton committed in writing to equal appointments by the city and county.

Hamilton’s effort can be analyzed as at least two-pronged.

Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners want convention center deal done sooner than end of year, Bloomington city council OKs revised food and beverage tax request”

Bloomington mayor suggests numerical equality for city, county in convention center governance, includes CVC in the mix

Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, sent a memo late Monday afternoon to the 19 other city and council elected officials that have been meeting since September to try to re-start the convention center expansion project.

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The project has been stalled at the preliminary design phase after a nine-member steering committee shepherded the project that far in late May.

Hamilton’s Nov. 25 memo suggests something that he was not yet ready to embrace last Thursday, when the group met in city council chambers: numerical equality for the city and the county’s appointments to the governance of the expanded facility.

Hamilton and the three county commissioners have been wrangling over what kind of entity to create for the governance—a capital improvement board (CIB), which is enabled by state statute, or a 501(c)(3). They’ve also not been able to agree on the split for the appointments on a seven-member CIB, if that’s the entity that’s created. The commissioners want a 3–4 or 4–3 split. Hamilton countered with a 6–1 or 5–2 split in the county’s city’s favor.

But the Nov. 25 memo now suggests a 4–3 split in the city’s favor, which appears to put the two sides closer than they were before. County council president Eric Spoonmore told The Beacon he sees the spirit of Hamilton’s memo as consistent with moving forward, adding that he was encouraged by it. Continue reading “Bloomington mayor suggests numerical equality for city, county in convention center governance, includes CVC in the mix”