Against Council Majority Vote, Mayor Renner Schedules Committee Meeting
On Monday, January 8, the Bloomington City Council cast a 5 to 4 vote to strike the “Committee of the Whole” meeting from the 2018 calendar.
During the Council Meeting, Mayor Renner stated his intention to hold the meeting, regardless of the outcome of the vote. On Tuesday, January 9, Mayor Renner upheld his statement by returning the meeting to the calendar.
The special Bloomington City Council Meeting will be held in the Osbourne Room of the Bloomington Police Department at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16. The discussion will center on the Downtown Task Force’s proposed catalyst project. The project would move the Bloomington Public Library to the core of Downtown Bloomington in the current location of the Market Street parking garage. A new parking garage and Connect Transit station would also be part of the project.
In speaking with WGLT, Mayor Renner expressed his disappointment in the outcome of the vote. During a town hall meeting hosted by Aldermen Sage and Black and Alderwoman Schmidt, the aldermen expressed frustration with the situation.
At the town hall, Alderman Black stated, "When we make a decision and move forward, it's more effective than kicking the can down the road." Alderwoman Schmidt and Alderman Sage both agreed, and Alderwoman Schmidt further cited a concern that the media "makes it seem like we don't work together well. When we have a majority vote we should be done and move on."
When questioned about the council's reaction to the Mayor’s decision, Alderwoman Schmidt mentioned that she is "disappointed that we have not had a conversation to explain why the meeting should be cancelled" and that the city has "spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on [the current library campus]."
Both Alderwoman Schmidt and Alderman Sage said, "the council has said repeatedly that the library should stay where it is." Alderman Sage expressed frustration his comments being interrupted during the meeting. "The time spent in those meeting should be on priority issues on spending, not on efforts [such as the library relocation] that do not have council support," Sage said.
Alderman Black said, “regardless of the controversy from [the Monday Council meeting], the Downtown Task Force has other catalyst projects to consider" and that the Council members should spend their time talking about downtown events and combining City Hall and the Library.