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Bloomington Council Approves Budget, Money For Multisport Complex Study

Alderman Mboka Mwilambwe said "we all have to compromise and do the best we can to keep the city moving forward."

The Bloomington City Council approved the fiscal year 2019 budget Monday after making spending cuts and raising fees to close a $2.9 million deficit.

Alderman Mboka Mwilambwe said budget cuts cannot appease everyone's needs or wants.

"I think people will find some things in it that they will like and other things that they won't like," Mwilambwe said. "So we all have to compromise and do the best we can to keep the city moving forward because we are living in challenging economic times."

The budget passed on an 8-to-1 vote. Alderman David Sage voted against passing the city's $211 million spending plan for the next fiscal year, beginning May 1. Sage didn't offer comment during the meeting and wasn’t available for comment afterward.

The new budget means residents will pay more for garbage, sanitary sewer, and stormwater services. The city will pick up bulky waste just twice per year, instead of every other week.

Economic development and infrastructure are some of the top budgeting priorities for the city. The city will allocate $26 million to infrastructure. Alderman Amelia Buragas said nearly $3 million in spending cuts and revenue increases for the fiscal year 2019 budget reflect council priorities.

"The highest amount of funding is going toward public safety, it's going toward infrastructure. But at the same time we're maintaining those other assets our community has, like our parks," Buragas said.

Multisport Complex Study

In other business, the Bloomington City Council will spend nearly $18,000 to further study a potential multisport complex. That will help cover the cost of the $47,000 study that the Normal Town Council approved in February.

The Bloomington council voted 5-4, with "no" votes from Aldermen Joni Painter, Kim Bray, Sage, and Mwilambwe. Bray said she's unsure if the money will come from this year's budget or next year's. She said the money won't be available in the city budget to build such a space.

Alderman Diana Hauman, who supported the study, said it's important for the council to consider facilities that will benefit both Bloomington and Normal.

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Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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