Bloomington Budget Adopted, TIGER Grant Delayed | WGLT

Bloomington Budget Adopted, TIGER Grant Delayed

Apr 11, 2016

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner discusses the FY 2017 budget with the council.
Credit Staff

The Bloomington City Council has adopted a $207 million dollar proposed balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Aldermen Kevin Lower and Jim Fruin voted no. Lower said his opposition came because of a lack of reductions in “socialized entertainment venues.” Lower said he believed the venues should be paid for by the people actually using those services, not the city.

"We're charging folks that can't afford hardly to stay in their homes, money basically because it's coming out of the general funds subsidization, for these shows that folks that are attending those should be shouldering, or we shouldn't be having the shows." said Alderman Lower. 

For Alderman Fruin this is the first proposed budget he has voted against in 20 years on the council. Fruin said the scales have tipped, and the council has to do a better job at managing expenses. Fruin's comments echoed Lower's about cutting discretionary expenses for the people of Bloomington.  

"Instead of putting on $20,000 dollar shows in the park, we should be charging the folks that are attending these things, or we shouldn't be doing that. There's a lot of folks that can't afford additional entertainment, they're not even paying for cable, they're having a hard time putting food on the table." said Lower. 

The council unanimously waived the formal bidding process and authorized an agreement with Henson Disposal for processing recyclable residential construction and demolition waste in the City of Bloomington. Alderman Karen Schmidt had concerns about Henson's ability to dispose of items not normally collected by demolition waste companies, such as roof shingles. Assistant City Manager Steve Rasmussen said Henson Disposal can collect additional items at a separate cost, and bring them to appropriate sites. Waste collection will continue in Bloomington as it normally has.

The City Council agreed to pull its potential federal TIGER grant application to complete the long sought Hamilton Road extension. The Town of Normal made a similar move to end consideration of an Uptown railroad track underpass through the TIGER program to clear the way for an Illinois Department of Transportation application under the TIGER program to improve the Main Street Corridor.

Mayor Tari Renner said the city will turn to the FASTLANE capital improvement program for its Hamilton Road hopes. Congress approved FASTLANE two months ago under the federal transportation bill. It will run for five years. The city would seek $8.7 million dollars to build the Hamilton Road extension from Bunn Street to Commerce Parkway. If received, the city would have to match the federal funds with at least $5.8 million local dollars. 

City Manager David Hales asked to postpone consideration of an ordinance to require Uber drivers to clearly mark their vehicles to show they are a part of the private ride program. Hales said a further discussion regarding the issue should happen at a later meeting before a final decision.