The six-hour day of training by eight BLM facilitators is currently scheduled for Jan. 30, 2021. But that date could change by agreement between the commissioners and BLM.
Also at their Wednesday meeting, the commissioners approved revisions to the Monroe County personnel manual that, among other items, address the kind of training that will be provided by BLM. It won’t require elected officials to take BLM’s training.
At last Tuesday’s meeting of Monroe County’s council, county board of commissioners president Julie Thomas presented a list of projects that could be funded using proceeds from a $3-million general obligation (GO) bond.
It’s a routine strategy for the county, each year to set property taxes at a high enough rate to generate enough revenue to cover the repayment of short-term general obligation bonds.
The list presented by Thomas for this year included: trucks and heavy equipment for the highway department; support vehicles for the highway department; parks ADA projects; replacement of core switches in the justice building; radios for sheriff’s office; handheld narcotics analyzer; county vehicle refresh; renovations related to office move by highway and surveyor; and trail connections.
On Tuesday, the list did not appear to generate any red flags for county councilors. Last year, commissioners proposed a $5-million bond that drew sharp enough scrutiny from councilor Marty Hawk that the list of projects was trimmed down to about $3.3 million. This year’s proposal will get more consideration in the next few weeks before a vote is taken.
Wednesday is the usual meeting day for two local elected bodies—Bloomington’s city council and Monroe County’s board of commissioners. This week they each approved legislation involving anti-racist efforts.
The city council approved a resolution endorsing a proposal for art featuring the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
Both approvals came without the full support of the elected groups. In a rare non-unanimous vote on the three-member county board, commissioner Penny Githens dissented on the approval of the diversity training contract.
On the city council, Dave Rollo abstained from the vote on the art project, which left the proposal with eight of nine city councilmembers in support of it.
At their budget work session on Thursday, the third in as many days, Monroe County councilors voted 5–2 to set the salaries for the three county commissioners at $46,000, which is about $10,000 more than they were paid last year.
It’s about $14,000 less than the figure that commissioners had requested.
Thursday’s vote set the amount that will be included in the advertised budget, which will get a final vote in mid-October.
Procedurally, the councilors voted to reduce the three line items for each of the commissioners in their proposed budget from a requested $60,133 to $46,000.
Aug. 26, 2020 was Women’s Equality Day in Monroe County.
Making it so was a proclamation from Monroe County’s three county commissioners, which they issued at their regular weekly meeting on Wednesday morning.
The occasion was the 100th anniversary of another proclamation, issued by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby, which formally incorporated the 19th Amendment into the Constitution, and gave women the right to vote. Colby’s proclamation was made possible eight days earlier, on Aug. 18, 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, gave a speech last week on Thursday, released in a Facebook video, that revealed the basic approach the city will take to spur a local recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. It’s a program the mayor is calling “Recovering Forward.”
The speech prompted a response from county elected officials in the form of a pointed press release issued late this Friday afternoon.
By way of background, the mayor had sketched out the initial part of his recovery plan at a Bloomington city council work session the Friday before. To jump start the effort, the initial part of the plan includes a request to the Bloomington city council for a $2-million appropriation.
Overshadowing the rest of the speech was the mayor’s renewed pitch for an increase to the local income tax, something he’d announced as a goal on New Year’s Day. The amount of the proposed increase last week was reduced—from a half point to a quarter point—compared to the proposal he’d made earlier.
The way the local income tax works is already a point of friction between Bloomington and Monroe County government.
But escaping mention in the local press was this passage from the mayor’s speech:
I’ll note that the City’s recovery investment can and I believe should be in parallel with a similar county government investment in recovery, with their also-healthy financial reserves. I’ve urged our colleagues in county government to expand their support for eviction protection, for our public health system, for the criminal justice system reforms so sorely needed, and for other recovery needs.
That paragraph from the address, among others, piqued the interest of the mayor’s “colleagues in county government”—who wondered why the mayor felt it was his place to urge them to do anything at all.
At its regular meeting on Wednesday morning, the three-member board of Monroe County commissioners approved the 10th and probably final round of grants as part of its program to give relief to businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That brought the total amount awarded by the county to right around $400,000, distributed to over 30 different entities involved in tourism-related enterprises.
The total amount of tax proceeds recommended by the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) for the purpose COVID-19 relief by the county was $400,000.
One of the awards given by commissioners on Wednesday morning was a $10,000 loan to a previous grant recipient, Trailhead Enterprises. The money, which will pay for an air-conditioning unit, is supposed be paid back by Aug. 1, according to county attorney Margie Rice.
The other two grant awards on Wednesday went to Rising Star Gymnastics for $25,000 and The WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology for $65,000.
On Thursday, at its first regular meeting since the end of January, Bloomington’s parking commission reviewed the protected bicycle lane project that’s going to be built on 7th Street sometime in 2021.
It was in front of the commission because the 7-Line, to be built as a two-way bicycle path on the south side of the roadway, will require the removal of 113 on-street metered parking spaces. It’s the loss of parking spaces that has generated some concern among property owners along the corridor, among them the Monroe County government.
Parking commissioners gave a unanimous recommendation in support of the planning and transportation staff’s finding—that the three-quarter-mile bicycle lane from the B-Line Trail to the Indiana University campus at Woodlawn supports several goals of the city’s comprehensive plan and squares up with the city’s transportation plan.