The Bloomington Council held four nights of budget hearings from Aug. 23-26, with staff presentations and discussions about priorities for the city.
Each night focused on different areas. You can watch the presentations by following the links below to CATS recordings for each department.
The Council is expected to hold a public hearing on the budget on Sept. 29, with final action on Oct. 13.
Last spring, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on March 11, 2021 to provide economic relief to state and local governments as they confront fiscal challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic. As one of the many recipients of this 350 billion dollar aid package, Monroe County is set to receive 29 million dollars in funds to address the specific needs of its unique community.
To help decide how this federal funding should be well spent, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners is asking the public to share their ideas on their website, here, on how these funds can be best allocated to ease the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. Be sure to follow the previous link to let your funding suggestions be known.
To read more about ARPA and the specific areas where Monroe County can apply these funds, follow this link to US Department of the Treasury's website.
The Monroe County Affordable Housing Advisory Commission has three vacancies. The AHAC makes recommendations to the county Board of Commissioners, which appoints the members.
The commission meets on the third Friday of each month from 8-9 a.m. Meetings are currently held via Zoom.
Learn more about the AHAC here. Find the application form here.
The City of Bloomington's 4th Street parking garage, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, will open on Monday, Aug. 23. The structure has over 500 spaces, a covered bicycle area, public bathrooms and retail space.
The smaller parking garage that had been on the spot was closed in 2018 and taken down.
A public art display will be installed in early October. The city plans to have a dedication ceremony in the fall.
The Monroe County Planning Dept. is hosting in-person and Zoom meetings on Module 2 of the Monroe County Consolidated Development Ordinance (CDO), which focuses on development standards.
The county is asking that participants fill out this survey to help with planning for COVID-19 safety for in-person meetings. They will send additional information to those who fill out the survey about how to attend via Zoom.
In-person meetings are planned for:
Find more info about the Monroe County CDO process here.
Responding to an increase in complaints about vandalism, aggressive behavior and other public safety issues, the City of Bloomington has released a statement about actions to improve safety in public spaces. Among the actions are:
The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association is seeking applicants to serve on its board, which meets monthly. The applicant must live in the BUEA zone and be affiliated with the non-dominant political party. (In Bloomington, the Democratic Party is the dominant political party.)
More information about the BUEA's work and how to apply can be found at https://bloomington.in.gov/business/buea.
At their Aug. 11 meeting, Monroe County Commissioners voted to officially oppose the City of Bloomington's proposed annexation. The vote on the 3-person board was unanimous. Watch their comments on CATS here.
The commissioners previously hired Baker Tilly, a consulting firm, to do an independent fiscal analysis of the City of Bloomington's financial plan, to help gauge the impact on Monroe County government. The county also held three informational forums in late July and early August to discuss the plan and hear from residents.
On Aug. 10, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton recommended removing Area 7 from his original annexation proposal. That area covers much of the northern gateway into the city. Read his press release here.
Bloomington City Council will continue a public hearing annexation on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. via this Zoom link. Learn more about the city's annexation process here. They are expected to vote on adopting annexation ordinances at their Sept. 15 meeting.
Several business owners spoke about issues related to Wheeler Mission at the Aug. 9 Bloomington Plan Commission meeting. The shelter is seeking approval for expansion of its facility on South Westplex Avenue, off of West 3rd St.
Business owners cited property damage, aggression, drug use, theft, trash (including needles) and urine/feces left on the grounds. They discussed the expense of installing security and paying for cleanup, and frustrations that the problems have exacerbated in the past few months. Similar concerns have been reported by businesses along the B-Line, South Walnut and Kirkwood areas.
Watch the discussion on CATS here. Read the Wheeler Mission proposal here.
Citing public health concerns related to COVID-19, Bloomington Council canceled the in-person part of its Aug. 4 public hearing on annexation and held the hearing only via Zoom.
The public hearing had been promoted as a hybrid meeting for months – in-person at city hall, and over Zoom, starting at 3 p.m. Less than an hour before the hearing started, the council issued a press release stating that they might hold the hearing over Zoom only. The capacity was limited in council chambers, with chairs spaced more than 6 feet apart and a limited number of people allowed to enter. Nevertheless, councilmembers cited the fear of crowds as endangering attendees. Though the Monroe County Commissioners had issued a mask mandate earlier that day, it did not take effect until Aug. 5. The health order did not limit the size of gatherings or indoor capacity.
After convening the meeting in person at 3 p.m., the council voted to recess and continue the hearing at 4 p.m. over Zoom only. You can watch the meeting via CATS here.
The annexation public hearing will continue on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. via this Zoom link. Learn more about the city's annexation process here.