Council Briefing: Bloomington Seeks Solutions for Budget Deficit

 Ward 2 Alderman David Sage speaks on the idea of contracting out the City's solid waste pickup following a budget scenario presentation Monday evening. "To me there's value in having that discussion," said Sage. (Image Credit: Breanna Grow)

Ward 2 Alderman David Sage speaks on the idea of contracting out the City's solid waste pickup following a budget scenario presentation Monday evening. "To me there's value in having that discussion," said Sage. (Image Credit: Breanna Grow)

Budget Deficit

Bloomington city officials presented ideas to shore up a projected $2.9M budget deficit for FY2019 at the council regular session meeting, 7:00 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

  • Interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen outlined a possible budget scenario, which included cutting services and generating new revenue to make up the deficit. Department heads were on hand to present additional details and answer questions.

  • Discussion among aldermen centered largely on solid waste collection. Bloomington Director of Public Works Jim Karch presented reduced brush and bulk waste collection, increased collection fees and staff reduction by attrition as options to recoup the $1.1M lost on the service. Aldermen asked Rasmussen to recommend a resolution to explore privatizing the city’s solid waste collection service at the next council meeting.

  • Other possible changes included:

    • Eliminating vacant city staff positions
    • Increasing service fees like false alarm responses for fire and police
    • Imposing a new business registration fee
    • Increasing paid parking hours at some city garages
    • Reducing street light placement and curb replacement
    • Selling small, unprofitable properties
    • Following up on revenue collection such as unpaid parking tickets
    • Encouraging city departments to track unspent funding to make further cuts.
  • Rasmussen stressed the presentation was not a budget proposal but a potential starting point toward a balanced budget.

  • Rasmussen also gave an overview of capital projects identified in the City’s Capital Improvements plan with possible funding sources.


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Award Presentations

The City’s Historic Preservation Commission presented the Heritage Awards to individuals and projects committed to preservation:

  • Brad Williams and Fred Wollrab
  • Bloomington Lodge No. 43 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for the Restoration of 302 E. Jefferson St.

  • Diana Krieg and Dawn Peters for the landscape restoration of 409 E. Grove St.

The Bloomington and Normal Human Relations Commissions also recognized adult and youth recipients of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award:

  • University High School student Jordyn Blythe

  • The late Lorenzo Marshall of Bloomington

  • Normal Community West High School student Xavier Higgins

  • Andre Hursey of Normal

What’s Next

Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy and Ward 8 Alderman Diana Hauman will host a Town Hall from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, at the Breckenridge HOA Clubhouse, 1001 White Eagle Road, Bloomington, to discuss the FY2019 budget and other issues.

Aldermen will continue to discuss the budget as well as the search for a permanent city manager at the next council meeting February 12.

  • Rasmussen said he expects to present a budget proposal at the February 26 council meeting. A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for March 12.

  • The City legally must adopt a budget by fiscal year’s end on April 30, although Rasmussen said he anticipates that will happen April 9 or 23.

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