It arose from a lawsuit claiming that Bloomington’s ordinance—along with those of Carmel, Columbus, and Indianapolis—were unconstitutional.
The unsuccessful lawsuit was filed in 2015 by the Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action, and American Family Association. The Court of Appeals concluded there was no no reason to believe that the cities’ ordinances had any effect on those companies’ activities.
The September opinion, on which all three judges concurred, states, “In sum, the companies’ own designated evidence establishes that the cities
have neither interfered with nor chilled their First Amendment rights.”
On Wednesday night at a special meeting, Bloomington’s city council started its deliberations on a proposal to increase the countywide local income tax by a quarter point. The debate will continue on Sept. 16.
That amount would take the rate from 1.345 percent to 1.595 percent. The higher rate would generate about $4 million annually for Bloomington. A little more than $4 million would be generated each year for Monroe County government and the town of Ellettsville.
A public hearing and a vote is scheduled for Sept. 16.
Under a proposed ordinance released to the public a few hours before the city council’s special meeting, a new city commission would have some control over expenditures from the extra revenue.
Under the ordinance, a new non-reverting fund would be created, called the Sustainable Development Fund.
Future ordinances and resolutions requiring expenditures from the fund would be subject to approval of a new seven-member commission, called the Sustainable Development Fund Advisory Commission (SDFAC).
Under the new ordinance, without a majority recommendation from the seven-member commission, the city council could not adopt an ordinance requiring an expenditure from the new fund.
Membership on the new commission would consist of: the mayor, three councilmembers and three citizens. That means an ordinance requiring expenditures from the new fund could be blocked by a coalition consisting of a single councilmember and three citizens.
The ordinance creating the new commission got a first reading on Wednesday, but no discussion, because under local code no debate or amendments are allowed at a first reading. It will be considered at a second reading on Sept. 16.
Wednesday marked the first public deliberations by the city council on the possible income tax increase. A city council work session held last Friday was limited to asking questions of the administration.
A ruling issued by Indiana’s court of appeals this past week says that if a car without a permit is parked in a private permit-only lot, a towing company can tow the illegally parked car without waiting 24 hours, even if it’s the only car parked in the lot.