Council Briefing: Aldermen Spar Over Rejected Downtown Library Relocation Meeting

Alderwomen Buragas Bray Council Briefing.jpg

Council Briefing

Bloomington City Council: December 8, 2018

At the Bloomington City Council meeting on December 8th, Mayor Renner gave his State of the City speech. The council then had a discussion over the rescheduling of the "Committee of the Whole" meeting. The council then wrapped up the meeting with a presentation from the Downtown Task Force.

Key Points from Mayor Renner’s State of the City Address

  • Renner highlighted several city accomplishments; Ameren designated the City of Bloomington as a ‘Progressive City’, USA Today and Business Insider placed Bloomington on their lists' of best college towns, and the City received 100% transparency score from the Illinois Policy Institute (Chicago-based conservative think-tank) for the second year in a row.

  • “We have made great progress in one of our top priorities--fixing streets and infrastructure,” Renner stated in the address. “That, along with public safety, nothing is more important to us.”

  • Renner made it clear that 2018 is focused on underperforming areas of Bloomington including the downtown inner core and Eastland Mall.

  • Renner stated that cuts will continue to be in focus, “We’ve already trimmed the fat, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t cut more.” He highlighted that cuts to services or tax impositions are possibilities.

Council Spars over Canceled Downtown Library Relocation Meeting

Alderwomen Bray and Buragas sparred in the Council after Bray made a motion to remove the "Committee of the Whole" meeting, discussing a relocation of the Library to Downtown Bloomington, from the proposed schedule.

Bray made a motion for the meeting to be removed from the proposed schedule, stating that the proposed meeting is structured in a non-traditional format and lacks input from several aldermen. “There are many excellent ways to gather community input that would simply be styled in a very different manner,” Alderwoman Bray stated.

Buragas posed the question, “It’s really hard for me to understand why it is you do not want to sit down and have a conversation with the Library Board and Connect Transit… Why would we deny them the opportunity?"

“We’ve had these conversations off and on the past 10 years I’ve been on the council,” Alderman David Sage stated. “It has included the library board previously. We have already invested, as far as I can tell, almost $500,000 in expanding the Library where it is now.”

Renner stated that it would be his “intention” to recall the meeting in the future. Renner did not provide a timeline for this next meeting.

The meeting was removed from the schedule at a vote of 5-4. Aldermen Mathy, Buragas, Black, and Hauman voted to keep the meeting on the schedule.

The council also heard the Downtown Task Force’s presentation of their action for Downtown Bloomington.

What’s Next: Be on the lookout for more discussion from the council regarding the Downtown Task Force’s proposed plan to relocate the Bloomington Public Library to Downtown Bloomington.

Go Further: Bloomington Public Library Plans Large Expansion, No Interest in Moving Downtown