Late August marked the conclusion of a four-night series of city council hearings on Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s proposed 2021 budget. Shortly after that, councilmembers submitted written questions to city staff.
Whether the concerns expressed in the written questions or during the budget hearings will result in changes to the budget won’t be known for sure until the final budget is presented to the city council on Sept. 30.
Screenshot of Zoom video conferenced Bloomington city council budget hearing Aug. 18, 2020.
Tuesday night’s round of departmental budget hearings in front of Bloomington’s city council featured two of the city’s most basic services: police and fire protection. Together those departments make up 42 percent ($24 million) of the proposed 2021 general fund budget.
A highlight from the fire department’s presentation was the fact that three out of the city’s five stations need to be replaced, at a ballpark price of $5.5 million apiece. A previously identified potential need is for a sixth fire station, somewhere in the southwest quadrant of the city. That translates into a $22 million future expenditure on new fire houses.
Fire chief Jason Moore delivered the proposed budget for the department.
Getting most of the council’s and the public’s attention in the police budget presentation was Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s proposed reduction in authorized sworn police officers from 105 to 100. The proposal swaps out five sworn officers for two social workers, two neighborhood resource officers and a data analyst.
Chief of police Mike Diekhoff delivered the budget presentation for his department.
During a panel discussion with other city officials, live streamed Thursday afternoon on Facebook, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton put numbers to an idea he mentioned in a speech two weeks ago.
The 2021 budget proposal, which the mayor will eventually present to the city council in mid-to-late August, would reduce the number of sworn officer positions with the Bloomington police department (BPD) from 105 to 100.
The budget is scheduled for adoption in October.
The idea is to re-allocate the money for five sworn officers to at least five new non-sworn positions—a mix of social workers and neighborhood resource specialists, Hamilton said.
Bloomington’s police chief, Mike Diekhoff, making the department’s budget presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 (Dave Askins/Beacon)
Two additional patrol officers, which would bring Bloomington’s total sworn police force to a total of 105, are a part of the 2020 budget that the chief of police, Mike Diekhoff, presented to the city council on Tuesday night.