The Bloomington city council proposed a balanced budget for the next fiscal year Monday night. City Manager David Hales said if it wasn't for the anticipated sales tax revenue for FY 2017, the council wouldn't have been able to collaborate with Connect Transit, and enter into a revenue sharing agreement with McLean County for mental health. Hales said the council has to make a continued effort for long-term financial planning.
"There is certainly a threshold beyond which tax payers are unwilling to support just continual increases in tax revenue, however they are looking to the city of Bloomington and all other government entities to be more efficient." said Hales
A final budget will be presented to the council on April 11. The relocation and expansion of Destihl Brewery from the City of Bloomington to the Town of Normal was considered.
"This project represents an investment of over $14 million in McLean County and will result in additional job creation, and hopefully additional craft brewery tourism." said Economic Development Coordinator Austin Grammer
Grammer said this is a great example of positive collaboration between the city and the town.
VenuWorks was approved to take over management of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. VenuWorks President Steve Peters said they plan to bring top quality events to the venue, and will work closely with the hospitality industry in Bloomington Normal to make that happen. City Manager David Hales plans on presenting a 5 year extension with VenuWorks to the council within the next 90 days.
The Bloomington Golf Course remains a City-owned property, and the council will not support outsourcing their management. This consideration passed with Alderman David Sage in opposition.
"My concern is really not about golf... it's more if we don't have the ability as a council to gather information and review what we've learned from that, then that doesn't bode well for our ability to have meaningful conversations about reduced or reprioritized spending." said Sage
Alderwoman Joni Painter pointed out the golf courses host events that bring people into Bloomington, who in turn stay at Bloomington hotels and restaurants. These events positively impact the Bloomington economy outside of the courses as well.
"There's a great deal of economic impact generated from the golf courses. Also the golf courses are really beautiful, they're beautiful green spaces, and I think that we need to preserve that." said Painter
A movement in the placement of public comment was approved. Now public comment will be held after Recognition/appointments, before the consent agenda.