At its Sept. 22 meeting, the Monroe County Board of Health unanimously voted to extend the county's mask mandate until Oct. 31. The county Board of Commissioners is expected to authorize the health order at its Sept. 29 meeting.
A provision in the health order would end the mandate earlier if Monroe County’s community spread decreases. Watched the Sept. 22 Board of Health meeting here.
At the Sept. 21 meeting of the Monroe County Convention Visitors Commission, the group got positive news about the hospitality sector and discussed the possible restart of the convention center expansion project.
Mike McAfee, executive director of Visit Bloomington, reported that hotel occupancy reached 70% in August 2021, on par with the industry's pre-pandemic rate in 2019. Short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, are also growing significantly.
McAfee also asked whether it's time to start talking again about the convention center expansion, a project that was halted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Kate Wiltz, a Monroe County Council member who serves on the CVC, said she supported restarting the conversation. She noted that the county continues to collect the Food & Beverage Tax, which is intended to help fund the project.
Watch the Sept. 21 CVC meeting here. The issue of the convention center expansion was also raised as part of the Monroe County Council budget presentations on Sept. 15. Watch that discussion here.
Monroe County Health Department will open a testing site next week for drive-thru testing of COVID-19. The site will be open weekly from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 500 Profile Parkway, on property owned by Cook Medical.
Penny Caudill, Monroe County's health administrator, made the announcement at the Sept. 17 Chamber Health & Business Conference.
More information is available on the Monroe County Health Department website here.
Monroe County and the City of Bloomington are accepting applications for their respective advisory committees related to upcoming redistricting.
Monroe County will be redrawing precinct boundaries for the county, and possibly district boundaries for the Monroe County Board of Commissioners and Monroe County Council. Redistricting occurs every 10 years, following the U.S. Census results. Results of the 2020 U.S. Census were released in mid-August. To apply for the Monroe County redistricting advisory committee, click here.
Bloomington Council will be redrawing its six districts. More information about the council's Citizens' Redistricting Advisory Commission, including an application, is here.
Local redistricting work can’t be finished until the state-level districts are drawn. If an existing precinct is split by a state legislative or congressional district, it has to be redrawn so that it is not split. Indiana’s state legislators are expected to complete that work in mid-to-late September.
Lee Marchant, a local businessman who has served on the Monroe County Convention Center Building Corporation Board of Directors and was president since its inception 30 years ago, resigned in August. The announcement was made at the board's Sept. 7 meeting.
"We just really are deeply moved by Lee's leadership and we thank him so very much for that," said Jim Murphy, the board's vice president. The Building Corporation Board oversees the Convention Center facilities and operations.
At the Sept. 7 meeting, the group also elected new officers. They are: Cindy Kinnarney, president; Jim Murphy, vice president; Jerry Neely, treasurer; and Joyce Poling, secretary.
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 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.
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.
Monroe County Commissioners approved a new mask mandate for indoor public places throughout the county, in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases, positivity rate, the Delta variant, and new CDC guidance.
The mandate takes effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5 and applies to indoor public places, including restaurants and retail stores. Read the full order here.
Businesses will be required to post signs regarding this mandate. Signs are available at the Chamber office (421 W. 6th St, southeast corner of 6th and Rogers), at Monroe County offices on the square, and Downtown Bloomington Inc.
Indiana University has also reimplemented a mask mandate on all campuses for all students, staff, faculty and visitors effective Thursday, Aug. 5.
Consultants with Baker Tilly presented a financial analysis of proposed annexation at the Monroe County Council on July 27. The report was commissioned by the county to independently assess the financial impact of Bloomington's annexation.
The report noted some variances between the Baker Tilly analysis and the City of Bloomington's fiscal plan, which is posted on the city's annexation website. Some of those variances are due to different approaches taken in calculating the impact. For example, the city used 2019 assessment data, while the Baker Tilly consultants used data from 2020.
Read the report here. Watch the Baker Tilly presentation on CATS here. An "impact calculator" is available on the county's website.
The county has scheduled three public forums to discuss the Baker Tilly report:
The Bloomington Council will hold a public hearing on annexation at their Aug. 4 meeting starting at 3 p.m. The council is expected to vote on Sept. 15. More about the city's annexation process here.