On Tuesday, June 30, the Monroe County Council is holding a special meeting to address community concerns about law enforcement resources. The session on Zoom begins at 6 p.m. and will be facilitated by Latosha Williams, associate director for residence life student conduct at Indiana University.
Meeting details, including the agenda and Zoom link, are here.
The seven-member Monroe County Council is responsible for appropriating all funds for county use. The council adopts the county budget – including the sheriff's office budget – fixes the county tax rate, and has exclusive power to borrow money for the county.
The Monroe County Public Library board has taken several steps toward building a new branch in the southwest area of Monroe County, though a specific location hasn't yet been announced.
At its Sept. 18 meeting, the MCPL board unanimously approved issuing a 20-year bond for up to $5 million for the project, which is estimated to cost about $10 million. The total financing would include cash from reserves as well as operating receipts. The library plans to fund this project without a tax increase.
On Sept. 18, trustees also approved hiring Bose McKinney & Evans LLP of Indianapolis to serve as bond counsel and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, headquartered in Chicago, to serve as municipal a advisor for the library.
Gary Lettelleir, MCPL finance manager, told trustees this was the "first step for issuing a bond to pay for the new southwest branch construction."
Click here to view the supporting documents, including a project timeline, provided in the board packet. Marilyn Wood, MCPL director, told trustees that the timeline is "more aggressive than we anticipate."
The board has previously approved hiring Matheu Architects for this project. That firm also designed the Ellettsville branch.
Click here to watch the bond presentation at the MCPL board's Sept. 18, 2019 meeting.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the MCPL board will hold a public hearing on its 2020 budget. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown library, 303 W. Kirkwood Ave., Room 1B.
Brian Payne, assistant director of economic and sustainable development for the City of Bloomington, will be the founding executive director of CDFI Friendly Bloomington, a new nonprofit focused on local community development. He'll begin the job on Sept. 3.
CDFI Friendly Bloomington, a 501(c)(3), is a community development financial institution formed in 2018. Its purpose is to provide investments for projects that don't qualify for conventional financing, as a way to catalyze small business growth, expand affordable housing and support community facilities in Bloomington and Monroe County.
Four local and regional banks – First Financial Bank, Old National Bank, German American Bank, and Woodforest National Bank – committed a total of $2 million in senior debt financing to CDFI Friendly Bloomington. In addition, the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association (BUEA) and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission each made $1 million capital grant commitments.
In his role at the city, Brian has also served as BUEA's director.
Alex Crowley, the city's director of economic and sustainable development, announced Brian's departure at BUEA's Aug. 14 meeting. He noted that in addition to this job transition, Brian recently moved to a new home and celebrated the birth of his daughter, Morrow – named after the county in Ohio where Brian and his wife met while campaigning for Barack Obama. Alex joked that these three major life events are "the trifecta of stress inducement."
The city will be searching for a replacement, but that job has not yet been posted on the city's employment portal.
CDFI Friendly Bloomington's board of directors includes:
Click here for more information about CDFI Friendly Bloomington. Read a white paper on this project here.
How does our local government set priorities for funding projects? Youth Participatory Budgeting (YPB) is a program that helps young residents learn this process by allocating real dollars for projects they propose.
The City of Bloomington's 2019 budget includes $15,000 for a new YPB program. Students who attend a Monroe County school and who will be in grades 8-12 at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year are invited to participate. Proposed projects must benefit the general public in one of the following categories: arts/culture, education, environment, recreation, social concerns or "other."
Several communities nationwide have launched some type of participatory budgeting, including Boston, Seattle, New York City and Denver.
Get more details about Bloomington's effort on the city's YPB website, including a timeline for this process. Ready to apply? Click here. And follow the process on Instagram at YPB Bloomington!
Want more info? Check out this post on CitizenLab: "8 Steps to Effective Participatory Budgeting."
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is one of the economic development arrows in the quiver of municipal financing. In the City of Bloomington, TIF funds are overseen by the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission.
Click here to read the city's 2019 annual TIF report.
At the RDC's June 3 meeting, the group received an annual report on TIF revenues and allocations. (You can watch the presentation on CATS here and view the Powerpoint here.) In 2019, TIF revenues are projected to reach about $10.6 million.
How does TIF work? TIF is a way to“capture” certain property taxes to be used in a specific geographic district – taxes that would otherwise be used by entities with the authority to levy taxes in that district. In Bloomington, a portion of the property taxes that would otherwise be collected by taxing units (like the city, county, and public schools) is instead used by the city for projects within the TIF district. In Bloomington, six TIFs are combined into a consolidated district. Click here for details about the city's TIF, including maps of the TIF districts.
How are TIF revenues calculated? The captured tax is only that which applies to the difference between (1) the baseline value of the property when the district was first formed, and (2) the value of the property after new construction or improvements to the property. That difference is the “increment” in “tax increment finance.”
Projects funded by TIF revenues include Switchyard Park, the Trades District, street and sidewalk repair, and redevelopment of the IU Health Hospital site. Future projects might include funding the expansion of the Monroe County Convention Center.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy