Council Briefing: Prevailing Wages, Firefighter Statue, and Cultural District Commission Changes Approved

 (Photo: Breanna Grow/AdaptBN)

(Photo: Breanna Grow/AdaptBN)

Despite “productive” talks between a local laborer representative and City staff, the prevailing wage ordinance Bloomington aldermen approved Monday night did not include a local hiring provision.

Alderman Karen Schmidt oversaw Monday’s council meeting, serving as mayor pro tem while Mayor Tari Renner attends the 86th Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston.

Great Plains Laborers Representative Mike Matejka at the last City council meeting asked aldermen to consider adding a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) provision to the City’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) guidelines. The provision would require that developers hire local laborers on a project in order to receive any TIF incentives. Aldermen voted to revisit the issue at the next Committee of the Whole meeting June 18.

City Attorney Jeff Jurgens said he along with Schmidt and Community Development Director Bob Mahrt met with Matejka Friday to discuss potential changes to the City’s prevailing wage ordinance.

“It does not appear that there’s currently an issue on enforcing this in the City of Bloomington,” said Jurgens; adding the ordinance approved Monday night is identical to those passed in previous years.

“Our ordinance goes a little further than what the state law requires in that we also require prevailing wage to be paid on projects that involve economic incentives from the City or are supported by things like TIF or other tax incentives.”

Jurgens said City staff will revisit the idea next year to discuss changing the City’s prevailing wage ordinance or economic incentive guidelines.

Schmidt said Matejka mentioned he would pursue similar talks with the Town of Normal.

Firefighter Statue

Aldermen also gave the go-ahead to a special Bloomington Fire Department committee to commission a local artist for a lifesize firefighter statue at a planned Miller Park memorial.

The City’s staff expect the statue to be completed in time for the department’s 150th celebration event at Miller Park October 13.

Cultural District Commission Changes

Bloomington’s Cultural District Commission has a new name and mission after aldermen unanimously voted to drop “District” from its name and broaden the group’s scope to include the entire City.

While the commission historically focused on the Center for the Performing Arts and adjacent Creativity Center, with no legal record of a “cultural district,” City staff say the term is misleading.

Members say expanding its purview throughout Downtown and the City will help the commission better champion cultural arts in Bloomington.