Monroe County is now offering reimbursements for expenses related to COVID-19 for up to $20,000. The previous limit was $10,000.
The reimbursements are made possible with funds from the federal CARES Act. Examples of approved expenses include cleaning or disinfection supplies, personal protection equipment (like face masks), and costs associated with changing your business model (such as restaurants that started offering curbside or take-out).
Details and a reimbursement form are available here.
The Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has approved a new regional transportation plan through 2045, with new emphasis on safety, transportation equity and climate change. Approval came at the group's Oct. 9 meeting.
Pat Martin, City of Bloomington senior transportation planner, noted that this marks the first MPO in Indiana to endorse a "Vision Zero" action plan, with a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. "Now the hard part comes in implementing the policy," he told MPO members.
The plan will be submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for their review and concurrent approval with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Click here to view the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.
The 2020 General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 3. In addition to the race for U.S. President, many candidates are running for local, state and federal office. To help voters navigate their options, the Chamber has launched a nonpartisan resource guide for elected positions that represent all or parts of Monroe County.
In addition to general resources about the voting process, the site includes information about candidates for U.S. Congress District 9, Indiana Senate and House of Representatives, Monroe County Council and Commission, Monroe County Circuit Court, other Monroe County elected offices, and the school boards for Monroe County Community School Corp. and Richland-Bean Blossom Schools.
Not sure who's on your ballot? Go to the League of Women Voters Vote411 site, enter your address and get a listing. Or search for your ballot on the Indiana Voter Portal by clicking the "Who's On The Ballot" link.
At its Sept. 8 meeting, the Monroe County Council unanimously approved a statement that urges the Bloomington Common Council to postpone a vote on a proposed 0.25% increase to the local income tax. The Bloomington Council is on track to vote on the proposal on Sept. 16 and will hold a meeting on Sept. 9 to discuss it.
The statement is written as a letter to Bloomington Council and reads, in part:
With the health and welfare of our residents in mind, we, respectfully, ask the Common Council to:
1. Slow the process down. Let us, please, take time to plan and take seriously the fiscal obligations we owe to all Monroe County Residents. There may be a time in the future when a tax increase is needed and the right action to take, but now is not that time. There is no need to fast‐track this legislation.
2. Jointly advocate, with the County, for legislative reform that allows both units to raise revenue, with appropriate input from residents in a way that recognizes the difference in needs and representation among the units.
Click here to read the full statement. Click here to watch the County Council's discussion on Sept. 8.
Click here to read more background about the tax proposal.
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.
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.
Monroe County is distributing reimbursements to local businesses for expenses directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Expenses might include cleaning supplies, personal protection equipment like face masks, or costs associated with changing the way a business operates (converting to curbside pickup, for example).
Click here for details and to apply for reimbursements. Questions can be directed to the county's project administrator at 812-272-6355 or email@example.com.
Violation of the Monroe County health order now includes a possible fine of up to $500, following action by the Monroe County Board of Health.
Mandatory masks are part of a health order issued on July 17, though some requirements don't start until July 31. However, in the City of Bloomington the July 31 requirements will begin July 23 at noon, because Mayor John Hamilton signed an executive order to implement these county measures earlier:
The Board of Health's regulation takes effect at noon on Wednesday, July 22. Violating a Board of Health regulation is a Class C ordinance violation, allowing for fines of up to $500. The regulation recommends that individuals be fined $50, but only recommends that groups be fined at a higher, unspecified rate. It can be enforced by health department officials or any law enforcement officer.
The Monroe County Health Department is recruiting volunteers for the Medical Service Corps to help with local health and safety work.
Volunteers currently are being deployed to help with the COVID testing site. When a COVID vaccine is available, volunteers will be needed to help at county health clinics.
Click here for more info. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy