On October 12th, 2022, city councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the mayor's proposed budget for the 2023 year. Last year's Economic Development Local Income Tax (ED-LIT) rate increase helped to expand the city's combined budget to 228.5 million dollars, a 28 percent increase from last year's 178-million-dollar budget. Under the requirements of the ED-LIT additional funds were allocated to areas like city services and workforce investments, climate change preparedness and mitigation as well as equity and quality of life for all.
The biggest topic of discussion that night, however, was the five percent salary increase to American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) employees. Members of this labor union argued that this percent increase is not enough to meet higher costs of living. Negotiations between the city and AFSCME are still ongoing despite the budget's approval.
To read more about Mayor John Hamilton's 2023 proposed budget, click HERE.
The City Council unanimously approved to move forward in the first part to designate the Catalent expansion as a revitalization area. Final approval of the tax abatement in exchange for $350 million in investment and 1,000 new jobs will be on March 2nd after a public hearing. Bloomington is competing with Louisville, Madison, and Kansas City. $10 million of this investment will be to develop real property. The Real property would be abated at a rate of 50 percent a year for 10 years, while the larger portion is the personal property, which is 90 percent for 20 years. The impact of the abatement on TIF revenue would not be significant as it is calculated on real property but not personal. The Impact on COB revenue would not be significant. Local taxes are collected is based on the City’s budget. The abatement does not reduce total revenue on a dollar-for-dollar basis, but rather spreads that loss to the other taxpayers. Where the issue comes is how close we are to the state-restricted CAPS which puts a levy on the amount a tax can go up. According to the the City’s Alex Crowley does not believe it will be an issue. The main reservation from the Council was housing, where are these people going to live? Currently, half of Catalent’s 3,212 workforce lives outside the county which Monroe County reaps no financial benefit from.
Get involved, contact your City Council representative to voice your opinion.
The City of Bloomington will offer free street parking downtown and in city garages from Thursday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 28 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and to support downtown businesses. Parking will be free on the following days throughout the holiday season:
At its Nov. 15 meeting, the Bloomington Plan Commission approved the next step in the Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County's Osage Place development. The approval related to 5.34 acres for 30 residential houses and three common areas. The site is located at 650 W. Guy Avenue and is part of a larger 12.5-acre project there.
Construction has already begun and the first houses are expected to be completed by early 2022.
Watch the Plan Commission discussion on CATS here. Read the proposal from the meeting packet here.
The City of Bloomington has signed a letter of intent with Meridiam to build and operate a citywide broadband network for residents, including areas anticipated to be annexed into the city. A final agreement is expected to be inked by Dec. 31, with construction starting in 2022.
According to a press release, the international company plans to invest more than $40 million in digital infrastructure in the coming years.
Read the city's press release here.
An ordinance to amend Bloomington's Municipal Code regarding the pet shop sale of cats and dogs will have its first reading at the Nov. 17 Bloomington Council meeting.
This policy proposal follows nationwide efforts by the Humane Society of the United States to decrease the number of puppy and kitten mills across the country. Legislators hope that by outlawing the sale of cats and dogs in local pet stores, a disincentive will be created for mill owners to exercise inhumane breeding practices. Stores will still be allowed to partner with shelters or other rescue organizations to feature pet adoptions, however.
To view a copy of this proposed ordinance, follow this link.
At the Bloomington Council's Nov. 3 meeting, John Zody, director of the city's Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) department, gave an update on housing initiatives.
He reported that since 2016, 1,132 units of affordable housing (1,672 bedrooms) have been created in the city. He described a range of city resources, including rental inspections, the housing development fund and plans for the hospital site redevelopment.
Watch the presentation on CATS here. View the presentation's slide deck here.
An advisory group has recommended boundary changes to precincts in Monroe County as part of this year’s redistricting process. The changes need to be approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. Click here for details.
The Indiana Elections Division deadline for changes to precinct boundaries is Nov. 12. Monroe County Commissioners are expected to vote on the recommended changes on Nov. 10. When the county sets the precinct boundaries, the Bloomington Council will address redistricting of city council districts. The city also has an advisory group to make recommendations, though no appointments have been made to that group yet.
The state’s deadline for making changes to districts is Dec. 26.
At their Oct. 27 meeting, the Bloomington Council voted 9-0 to approve the nearly $107 million city budget for 2022.
Two weeks ago, the council had delayed action on the budget, citing the need to further negotiate with Mayor John Hamilton. Some councilmembers want to add a full-time climate action director who would oversee implementation of the city's climate action plan. Other councilmembers are concerned about the city's ability to recruit and retain Bloomington Police Department sworn officers, and want to increase officers' base pay.
However, the budget adopted on Oct. 27 was unchanged from the previous proposal. Rather, councilmembers approved the budget based on the expectations laid out in a press release from the administration. In it, the mayor proposed a quarterly retention bonus for BPD officers and further investment in staff to implement the climate action plan. None of those changes affected the 2022 budget. More information about the city's budget is available here.
A revised residential development next to the Johnson Creamery Building received site plan approval at the Oct. 18 Bloomington Plan Commission meeting.
The residential development will be built in the parking lot north of the Creamery building and south of 8th St. It will include 51 apartments of mostly studio and one-bedroom units, with a few two- and three-bedroom apartments. The ground floor, which can be accessed via the BLine, will include a fitness center and office space.
More details are available in the Plan Commission's meeting packet here. Watch the discussion on CATS here.