On Wednesday night, the City Council took no action on the local income tax (LIT) increase until their regularly scheduled meeting was set for May 4th. This is the .0855 point increase proposed by Mayor John Hamilton. Council Member Sue Sgambelluri was absent, preventing her from voting. These “special circumstances” require the members to be in-person to participate.
The Chamber made a public comment that reiterated our belief that the current proposal was too massive with little in the way of inclusivity with the rest of the county. We also restated our belief in the needed investments in public safety and transit. You can watch our full comments HERE. Also, Chamber President Eric Spoonmore recently had a guest column for the Herald Times. We recommend reaching out to your council representative to share your views with them.
At the current stage, there appears to be no consensus among the Council members on the scope of such a tax increase. Councilmember Steven Volans made an impassioned plea for the full amount of the proposal. This was a similar position to council members, Matt Flaherty, Isabel Piedmont-Smith, and Kate Rosenbarger. Jim Sims was a bit more cautious reminding his colleagues of the need for compromise. Skepticism of the amount and the timing was made by Ron Smith and Dave Rollo. Councilmember Smith was especially apprehensive about the proposal based on his discussion with his constituents and county elected officials. He did not feel this to be an inclusive process. Dave Rollo believed there had not been enough attention paid to the budget as far as finding other sources of funds for these projects.
The eight council members who were present asked questions of the administration. Council Members Rollo and Volan brought the fund balance CRED (Community Redevelopment Economic Districts to Controller Jeff Underwood. The Thomson District has expired while the downtown region expires in June. Also brought up was the surplus as it relates to the Public Safety LIT that was passed in 2016 to fund the call center.
To help you get a better understanding of who the Monroe County Sheriff Candidates are and what their goals are if elected to office, the Chamber has constructed an easy-to-read chart with highlights from candidates' responses to a questionnaire sent out in March. Respondents were asked which three challenges were a top priority for them and how they plan to address those challenges next term.
If you would like to read their full responses, follow this link to the Chamber's Sheriff Candidate's page.
Thank you to all of the candidates for taking the time to fill out this survey. If you are interested in learning more about the other candidates, head over to the Chamber's 2022 Primary Election page to read more about those vying for party nominations.
The Chamber weighed in on the issue of the local income tax proposal (LIT) at last night’s Bloomington Common Council meeting. We shared the preliminary results from a survey of our members and community residents. In total, 196 people responded at that time with just over 90 percent being against the proposal as written. About 60 percent of respondents stated public safety is their top priority area. You can hear our comments at the meeting last night by clicking here.
The council was considering new revenue proposals for a nearly four-hour duration. One of the proposals was mayor John Hamilton’s 0.855 percent LIT increase. This translates into an extra $85 to be paid on every $10,000 of taxable income for all Monroe County residents.
Chamber President, Eric Spoonmore asked the council to take more time to find a solution to public safety. “They’re (law enforcement) only asking for 1.5 million additional dollars to meet the salary needs. Let’s start there and figure that out first.”
The council is set to cast a final vote next week, but it is unclear if that timeline will stick. They took a non-binding straw poll which ended up 3-1-3. Councilmembers Sims, Rosenbarger, and Flaherty voted in favor, Councilmember Ron Smith was the lone vote against, while Councilmembers Rollo, Sgambelluri, Sandberg took a pass. Based on the demographic make-up of the LIT council, just eight Bloomington City Council members could implement the tax increase for all County residents. This would then bypass the County Council’s input.
The mayor’s office put forth his call for an additional $18 million in revenue which equates to a 64 percent increase in the Monroe County LIT.
Earlier this month, the Monroe County Black Democratic Caucus and the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus, 9th District hosted two candidate forums at the Bloomington City Council Chambers. Candidates who were in-person for this event were eager to share how their backgrounds and experiences make them uniquely qualified for office. If you missed this or would like to learn more about the candidates before you vote early, please follow the links attached to the office titles below.
Recorder (Link to Youtube)
Remember, early voting is now taking place at the Old NAPA building at 302 S Walnut St, Bloomington, IN 47401 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. If you need any additional information on early voting or voting on election day, follow this link to the Monroe County Election Central. Thank you to the Monroe County Black Caucus and the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus, 9th District for hosting this event!