Council Briefing: Cash Matters and Intersection Improvements for Towanda-Barnes

 (Photo: Christian Prenzler)

(Photo: Christian Prenzler)

As the City of Bloomington worked Monday night to lighten its budget deficit, the City Council made one thing clear: Cash matters.

Cash Matters

Alderman Diana Hauman raised several issues Monday night, including the decision to finance a parking lot purchase the City made last month. The City purchased the Frontier parking lot for $961,000 just two weeks ago, a decision the council approved in April 2017. The Council has now authorized the City to finance the purchase with a $1M bond.

The Fine Print: Hauman said when former City Manager David Hales pitched the idea to the council, they understood the purchase would be made with cash. "I am disappointed that we were led down the road that we had the money to do this, and we don’t,” Hauman stated. Mayor Renner responded, saying the City does have the cash, but is choosing to finance the purchase.

The Bottom Line: Alderwoman Buragas said the Council previously had “a desire to move towards cash for capital.” The council will return to the issue, she added.

Intersection Improvements for Safety and Speed

In a move to improve safety and speed up traffic flow at the intersection of Ireland Grove Road and Towanda-Barnes Road, the City approved a measure to add a southbound right-turn lane. The project will cost $740,000 and will be split 50/50 between the City and McLean County, with the City paying $370,000.

 The intersection at Towanda-Barnes and Ireland Grove. Blue highlights show the added right-turn lane. (Graphic: City of Bloomington)

The intersection at Towanda-Barnes and Ireland Grove. Blue highlights show the added right-turn lane. (Graphic: City of Bloomington)

The Data: The improvements to the intersection will cut traffic from four-minute wait times during busy periods to 45-55 seconds. That’s nearly an 80% drop in wait times during peak traffic hours.

Key Takeaway: Funds for the project are allocated from the motor fuel tax fund. Through cost-saving measures, the City was able to reduce the cost of the project by nearly 18%. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.