The Monroe County Council is holding its 2021 budget work sessions starting Tuesday, Sept. 8. Here’s the lineup:
TUESDAY 9/8 at 4 p.m.: Zoom link
Starts with public commentary from 4-5 p.m. Then overview, courts, probation, youth services, jail/correctional center, and sheriff.
WEDNESDAY 9/9 at 5 p.m.: Zoom link
Treasurer, prosecutor, recorder, extension services, assessor, aviation, clerk, planning, surveyor, parks & recreation.
THURSDAY 9/10 at 5 p.m.: Zoom link
Public defender, coroner, legal, weights & measures, veterans affairs, HR, emergency management, building commission, technical services, highway, board of commissioners.
FRIDAY 9/11 at 5 p.m.: Zoom link
Solid waste, fire protection district, county fair board, health, auditor, county council, central dispatch, local income tax review, final budget discussion.
Details about the Monroe County budget process are available at this website.
The Hoosier Safe Six campaign, a collaboration led by the Chamber, kicked off a community-wide effort to keep Bloomington and Monroe County healthy, safe and open. The initiative was launched as Indiana University students return to town amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.
The campaign includes customizable graphics that businesses and organizations can use, a "real talk" roommate discussion guide, and the Hoosier Safe Six Pledge to support the community.
The effort is a collaboration with the Chamber, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Bloomington, the City of Bloomington, Monroe County Health Department, Monroe County Community School Corporation and Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporation.
UPDATE: The LWV has distributed all its signs and they are no longer available.
The League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County is seeking locations for yard signs encouraging people to vote early and to check their voter registration for the Nov. 3 election.
To host a sign, contact Tom Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-345-2544.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 5. In-person early voting starts Oct. 6. More information, including how to request an absentee ballot, is on the Monroe County Election Central website and the Indiana Voter Portal.
Effective Friday, Aug. 21 at noon, private gatherings in the City of Bloomington are limited to 15 people. Mayor John Hamilton issued the executive order imposing the change, as part of an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 as Indiana University students return to town.
A Monroe County Public Health order, which took effect July 22, has limited private gatherings to 50 people. That remains in effect.
The mayoral order applies only within the City of Bloomington, including the IU campus. It remains in effect indefinitely.
Interested in volunteering to help guide local government policy and decisions? Both the City of Bloomington and Monroe County are seeking applicants for vacancies on their respective advisory boards and commissions.
For the City of Bloomington, there are vacancies on more than 20 boards and commissions, including the parking commission, historic preservation commission, Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, and the farmers market advisory council. Click here to view all vacancies. Click here to apply.
Monroe County does not post specific vacancies, but takes applications at any time. Click here for a list of advisory boards and commissions. Click here to apply.
The City of Bloomington has released a report looking at digital equity among city residents. The report is intended to guide development of the city's digital equity strategic plan.
Among the findings:
Click here to read the report.
Bloomington Council is holding its 2021 budget hearings from Aug. 17 through Aug. 20. All sessions start at 6 p.m. Here’s the lineup:
MONDAY, 8/17: Zoom link
Overview, HR, Clerk, Legal, IT, Council, Controller, Mayor
TUESDAY 8/18: Zoom link
Fire and Police
WEDNESDAY 8/19: Zoom link
Public Transit, Housing Authority, HAND, Economic & Sustainable Development, Community & Family Resources, Parks & Rec
THURSDAY 8/20: Zoom link
Utilities, Planning & Transportation, Engineering (new department), Public Works (includes animal control, parking, street/traffic, etc.)
The 338-page budget book with more materials is posted here.
The Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department is surveying residents for its 2021-2025 master plan.
Click here to take the survey.
Click here to read the current 2016-2020 master plan.
A master plan is required in order to receive grants from the state and federal government and other sources. It is also required for accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). In June, the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners approved a $72,500 contract with Troyer Group Inc. to develop the plan.
As part of ongoing work to develop the 24-acre site where the IU Health Bloomington Hospital is now located, the City of Bloomington is asking for feedback on preliminary design concepts.
Consultants hired to develop the site's master plan (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) have developed three concepts based on input so far. A presentation of their work is available here.
Click here to take the survey.
Click here to view the project's website.
Note: This "It's Your Business" column by Erin Predmore, the Chamber's President & CEO, first appeared in the Aug. 14 issue of the Bloomington Herald-Times.
Earlier this summer, we unveiled an important historical marker for our community as a whole, for the business community and, most importantly, for the Black business community.
In the 1960s, a business called The Black Market operated in the spot where Peoples Park is located now. Owned and run by Indiana University grad student Rollo Turner, it was a Bloomington store celebrating Black culture, with African art, clothing and music. It was a welcoming place for Black IU students and community members to gather.
On Dec. 26, 1968, in a violent reaction to the civil rights movement, the Black Market was firebombed. What was one moment a thriving, locally owned business and center for Black culture became in the next moment a burning symbol of hatred and racism. The store was destroyed in the fire.
As time passed, this location became a gathering place for local students, civil rights activists and other residents. The family that owned it later gave this land to the city of Bloomington to be maintained forever as a public park — Peoples Park.
But as time passed, the story of this place — The Black Market, the firebombing, and its place in the history of the local civil rights movement — was left behind. People stopped telling others about it, and many residents never knew what happened here.
I first learned about this history almost two years ago, when the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce began working with leaders in the Black business community in an effort that led to the formation of the chamber’s Black-Owned Business Affinity Group. With their leadership, we partnered with the city of Bloomington to submit an application to the Indiana Historical Bureau. That work led to the installation of an historical marker at Peoples Park that we celebrated on July 31.
But really, we were celebrating our community’s Black business owners and acknowledging that what happened here in 1968 still matters to Bloomington today. We forget that history at our peril.
The treatment of people of color in Bloomington and Monroe County has been horrible, ranging from microaggressions at work to racial profiling to physical violence. Taking a stand against these behaviors is required by of all of us who want to be decent and humane.
For those who don’t believe this is a moral issue or don’t acknowledge that racism still exists here, at least consider the economic impact of our community’s reputation. This summer, our office has fielded calls and emails from individuals and groups who were no longer willing to come to Bloomington because of the racist actions of some of our community members. In 2018, visitors spent over $418 million in Monroe County. What would we do if they all decided not to come back after the pandemic abates?
Here’s another harsh reality, from the Monroe County Quality of Place & Workforce Retention Plan: “Minority residents do not feel the sense of welcoming community that Monroe County prides itself on. The legacy of the KKK in the region is remembered and felt today. Recruiters have trouble attracting diverse candidates to the region, to Monroe County, and to Bloomington.”
Our community’s success is intricately tied to the success of our neighbors, friends and colleagues. We will all rise or fall together, and we can only rise by supporting those who need to be recognized as valuable members of our community. We must embrace the minority members of our community and stand for equality, equity and inclusion.
To all people of color, the chamber is glad you are here.