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Capital Projects, Road Work See Boost In $227M Bloomington Budget

Road construction sign
Bloomington City manager Tim Gleason says the recent gas tax increase will help the city start to get caught up on road work.

Bloomington is looking to boost spending 8 percent in the next budget year, with a major emphasis on what the city officials say are long overdue capital projects.
Alderman will vote Monday night on a$227.5 million spending plan that would take effect May 1.

Tim Gleason
Credit City of Bloomington
Bloomington City manager Tim Gleason says the recent gas tax increase will help the city start to get caught up on road work.

City manager Tim Gleason said the recent gas tax increase which is expected to generate $2.3 million annually will help the city start to get caught up on road work.

“We are playing catchup in some areas and hope to get to the point where we are doing the normal replacement that we should be to keep our head above water, but we are not there yet,” Gleason said.

The city plans to pump $40 million into capital projects. That marks a $13.5 million increase over the current budget year and comes from reserves in state motor fuel tax funds.

“Maybe the (city’s) approach in the past was ultra-conservative. While I am very conservative, we found some surplus and we ate up the projected $2 million deficit fairly quickly in the current budget year,” Gleason added.

Capital projects in the proposed budget include the Fox Creek Road expansion, the final piece of the Hamilton Road expansion and the Locust Colton combined sewer overflow project elimination and water main replacement.

The city plans to spend about $5.8 million on road repairs in the coming year. Gleason said that amount will increase in the coming years as the city collects the additional 4 cents in the recently approved gas tax.

The city also has $525,000 budgeted for two projects at Grossinger Motors Arena. The city plans to spend $325,000 in buy and install new LED lights to replace the fluorescent and metal halide lights the venue has now.

City officials project the city could recoup its costs in 10 years or less by reducing its energy use.

The city also plans to spend $200,000 for an arc flash study to meet new guidelines set by the National Electrical Code. The study will set appropriate safety labeling for all electrical equipment in the arena where employees and contractors may need to work.

Dedicated Road Fund

The council will also vote on a plan to create the Capital Improvement Asphalt and Concrete Fund, which will collect the city’s motor fuel tax revenue, which will increase to 8 cents starting May 1, and the city’s 2.5% home rule sales tax.

“It was always protected revenue, but what we’ve done is taken an additional step to carve it out of that protected revenue, which was a larger pie if you will,” Gleason said. “While I was confident that the asphalt and concrete money was protected adequately, this additional step that’s before council is more about transparency and ease of access,” Gleason said.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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