The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is kicking off the new year with a weekly news quiz, published each Friday and focusing on local issues and member news.
The quiz is designed to help residents become more informed about local government and other community issues, as well as to highlight what's happening with Chamber members.
Click here to take the quiz!
Water rates would increase by over 30% for commercial customers and over 50% for industrial customers, if proposed increases are approved by the City of Bloomington. Get details on the proposed rate changes here.
Utilities staff held an informational meeting on Jan. 7 – watch a recording of the session here. The Utilities Service Board's Finance Subcommittee will meet on Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 4 p.m., followed by a meeting of the entire USB to take final action on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.
The Bloomington Council will then hear a first reading of the proposed changes at its Feb. 3 meeting, with final action expected on March 3. If approved by council, CBU will file the rate request with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (IURC) before the end of March 2021. CBU anticipates that the IURC will host public hearings, with the dates and times to be announced. Any final rates that are approved by IURC will go into effect in early 2022.
The Chamber is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Bloomington/Monroe County for a monthly Legislative Update series, starting on Saturday, Jan. 16 from 9:30-11 a.m.
The virtual event will be conducted via Zoom. Click here to register.
State legislators representing Monroe County will give overviews of their activities in the Indiana General Assembly and will take questions from the audience. Each session will be taped by CATS and replayed on scheduled dates or on request.
Subsequent updates are planned February 13, March 6, and April 10.
The Bloomington City Clerk is seeking applications for the new Community Advisory on Public Safety (CAPS) Commission. The commission, created by the Bloomington City Council earlier this year, aims to "to increase the safety of all Bloomington community members, especially those often marginalized due to race, disability, gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation."
Click here for the City Clerk's press release about applying to CAPS. To apply for this or any city advisory commission, click here.
The All IN 4 Democracy Coalition – a campaign to provide Indiana citizens a redistricting process that will be transparent and serve the public interest – is seeking applicants for the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC).
The nine-member bipartisan commission will:
The application deadline is Jan. 4. Click here for more details and to apply.
A Dec. 1 public meeting and online survey are the next steps in the City of Bloomington's Digital Equity Strategic Plan. The city recently released a draft of the plan, which lays out a framework to improve internet accessibility and affordability for Bloomington residents.
A meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 starts at 6:30 p.m. via this Zoom link.
Click here to give feedback online.
Monroe County Commissioners are holding a public forum on Monday, Nov. 16 to get input on the future of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion. That project, which has been in the works for several years, was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year.
In announcing the forum, Commissioner Julie Thomas said: "Given the pandemic, given the pause, it's just a good time to review where we're at and where the community's at before we make any further decisions."
In a press release, the county posed these questions:
The Nov. 16 forum starts at 6 p.m. via this Zoom link. Or email your comments to CCR@co.monroe.in.us.
The proposed $44-million expansion is being funded by a countywide 1% Food & Beverage Tax, which was levied by the Monroe County Council in 2018. Since the pandemic struck, proceeds from that tax have been used to support tourism-related businesses.
The City of Bloomington is holding a second public forum about the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) mapping process to focus on the new student housing zone. The meeting on Thursday, Oct. 29 starts at 5:30 p.m. via this Zoom link.
The city is continuing a two-year overhaul of the UDO, the city's main zoning document. In addition to updating its zoning map, planning staff are bringing forward text amendments related to duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes. The proposal, if approved by city council, would allow such structures as either conditional or permitted uses in more residential districts.
More information, including an online survey, is available on the UDO mapping website. You can watch a recording of the city's Oct. 27 forum, which provided a general overview, here. The planning staff is expected to present a formal proposal to the Bloomington Plan Commission in early 2021.
The City of Bloomington has released a draft zoning map as the last phase of a two-year overhaul of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the city's main zoning document.
A public forum will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 5:30-7 p.m. with a presentation on the proposed changes and a Q&A session. There will be at least four more meetings in the coming weeks to seek public input, as well as opportunities to provide feedback via online surveys.
A website for the mapping project also contains a proposed housing diversity story map, an interactive map where residents can enter their address, and information about opportunities to provide feedback over the next eight weeks. The input collected during this period will help city staff prepare for public hearings in early 2021 to consider and adopt the new zoning map for the city, along with text amendments.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was published in the Oct. 9, 2020 Bloomington Herald-Times.
This year, the presidential election is sucking all the oxygen out of the room as we head toward Nov. 3. It’s certainly a crucial race and not just for the business community.
But here’s the thing: While presidential candidates receive much-deserved attention and scrutiny, many of the down-ballot races go virtually unnoticed. How many times in the past have you filled out your ballot and wondered: “Who the heck are these people?”
The candidates we elect for local and state offices have a direct impact on our daily lives. They make decisions that impact businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and individuals. They decide how our tax dollars are spent. They make policies and regulations that affect how your business can operate and whether you can thrive. They hire and oversee our school superintendents. They determine how laws are applied. And most of them do this in relative anonymity.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is working to help our members and others in the community be more informed voters. We’ve launched an online, nonpartisan guide for elected positions that represent all or parts of Monroe County. Please check it out at ChamberBloomington.org/2020-general-election.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy