Mayor on 2021 Bloomington budget: “I do believe in a countercyclical government, so keep your ears open for that.”

Bloomington’s city council held its 2021 “budget advance” meeting last Wednesday. The meeting is an annual chance for councilmembers to tell the administration what their priorities are for the coming year.

Cropped Budget Advance Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 6.33.29 PM
Screenshot of Zoom videoconference for Bloomington city council’s budget advance meeting on April 29, 2020.

Sidewalks, bike lanes, food security, and leaf pickup were among the specific topics that councilmembers discussed. The general theme was uncertainty about revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the council’s budget hearings are scheduled to unfold on successive nights between Aug. 19 and Aug. 22. At the end of September the council will hear a first official reading of the budget, which can be different from the version that’s presented during the hearings.

Final adoption of the budget is expected on Oct. 14.

On Wednesday, controller Jeff Underwood sketched out a fiscal picture for councilmembers that included solid reserves—cash balances and a rainy day fund that are enough to cover 38 percent of general fund expenses for a year. With no revenue at all, the city could pay its bills for longer than four months. Continue reading “Mayor on 2021 Bloomington budget: “I do believe in a countercyclical government, so keep your ears open for that.””

Bloomington city council’s OK of $324K for new sidewalks comes with discussion of additional funding sources

This year’s annual approval of the city council’s sidewalk committee report came at last Wednesday’s city council meeting. The report included $324,000 in funding for six different projects. The half dozen projects included: two sidewalk construction projects, two sidewalk design projects, and two traffic calming or crosswalk projects.

The sidewalk committee’s report was based on its meetings last year.

The approval was not controversial, passing 9–0. But it did generate a bit of discussion about other funding sources for new sidewalks, besides the money that was approved last week. The $324,000 total came from the city’s alternative transportation fund (ATF). Continue reading “Bloomington city council’s OK of $324K for new sidewalks comes with discussion of additional funding sources”

Sidewalk committee climbing a $17M mountain with $300K annual steps: Half-century until summit

On Monday at noon, Bloomington city council’s sidewalk committee met for the second time in the last couple weeks, to sort through 62 proposed new sidewalk construction projects for 2020.

Council Sidewalk Map UpdatedThis year, the four-member group has $324,000 to allocate towards the projects, one of which, along Dunn Street, has been on the list for two decades, since 2001.

This year’s total of $324,000 reflects an increasing trend. Over the last 10 years, the council has averaged around $280,000 per year in approvals, with the last six years right around $300,000 or slightly higher.

The money comes from the city’s alternative transportation fund (ATF), which was established in 1992 as part of the same ordinance that created the residential neighborhood parking permit program.

According to the residential neighborhood parking permit ordinance, “funds received in excess of the annual cost of operating the program shall go into an Alternative Transportation Fund.” Expenditures from the fund are supposed to be for the purpose of “reducing our community’s dependence upon the automobile.” Continue reading “Sidewalk committee climbing a $17M mountain with $300K annual steps: Half-century until summit”

Bloomington city council gets assurance: county redevelopment commission’s planned new roads will have sidewalks

Monroe County attorney Jeff Cockerill presented a proposal to Bloomington’s city council Wednesday night that will use revenue from the West Side TIF (tax increment financing) District to pay for two new roads in the area southeast of the intersection of Vernal Pike and Curry Pike.

One of the two-lane roads will extend Profile Parkway to Gates Drive. The other will extend Sunrise Greeting Court from Vernal Pike down to Gates Drive. The roads are meant to promote development on the interior of the area bounded by Vernal Pike, Curry Pike and Third Street. Cockerill said the new roads are also supposed to alleviate traffic congestion—they’ll give motorists a reason not to use Curry Pike and 3rd Street as much. Continue reading “Bloomington city council gets assurance: county redevelopment commission’s planned new roads will have sidewalks”