The following press release was issued by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to oppose the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 regarding homeless encampments:
Based on overwhelming feedback from members, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 that would allow encampments in public parks for extended periods.
“Over the past year we’ve heard increasing complaints and deep concerns voiced by members of the business community regarding encampments at Seminary Park and elsewhere,” said Erin Predmore, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We must find an alternative way to support the needs of houseless residents that does not negatively impact local businesses, the jobs they provide, and the broader community.”
The 2021 Chamber State Legislative Preview will be held virtually from noon-1:30 on Friday, Jan. 15. We’ll hear from state legislators who represent all or parts of Bloomington/Monroe County, who’ll share their insights and answer questions about the 2021 Indiana General Assembly session.
We’ll also unveil the Chamber’s 2021 Local Advocacy Agenda and State/Federal Legislative Agenda, which will shape our advocacy efforts in the coming year.
Click here to register. We hope you’ll join us!
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.
The City of Bloomington has released a report looking at digital equity among city residents. The report is intended to guide development of the city's digital equity strategic plan.
Among the findings:
Click here to read the report.
Bloomington Council is holding its 2021 budget hearings from Aug. 17 through Aug. 20. All sessions start at 6 p.m. Here’s the lineup:
MONDAY, 8/17: Zoom link
Overview, HR, Clerk, Legal, IT, Council, Controller, Mayor
TUESDAY 8/18: Zoom link
Fire and Police
WEDNESDAY 8/19: Zoom link
Public Transit, Housing Authority, HAND, Economic & Sustainable Development, Community & Family Resources, Parks & Rec
THURSDAY 8/20: Zoom link
Utilities, Planning & Transportation, Engineering (new department), Public Works (includes animal control, parking, street/traffic, etc.)
The 338-page budget book with more materials is posted here.
A lively discussion on the proposed local income tax increase was the focus of the March 6 WFIU Noon Edition. Panelists included Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy; Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton; Bloomington City Councilmember Matt Flaherty; and Ellettsville Town Councilmember William Ellis.
Click here to listen.
The panel was moderated by WFIU's Bob Zaltsberg and Sara Wittmeyer, who also took questions from listeners calling in or emailing.
The Chamber has not yet taken a position on the income tax proposal, as few details have been provided about how the money would be spent in the proposed Sustainability Investment Fund. We continue to advocate for transparency and accountability in all aspects of government, as well as for broad public engagement in decision-making.
An overview of the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan – including several recommendations to lower the use of single-occupancy vehicles – was presented to Bloomington City Council at their March 4, 2020 meeting.
Justin Schor of Wells + Associates, the transportation consulting firm hired by the city, made the presentation. Click here to view his slidedeck, or watch it on CATS here. The full report will be available on the city's TDM website.
Short-term recommendations include providing a carpool matching service, a "guaranteed ride home" service, education and marketing about transportation options, and an increase in the cost of parking by 50% or more.
To implement and manage the city's TDM program, Schor recommended 2.5 employees, including a TDM director, manager and a part-time coordinator. The program's budget is estimated at nearly $500,000 annually. The council would need to vote to approve the program and identify revenues to support it.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to make government at all levels more transparent, consistent and accountable. As part of our advocacy efforts on this issue, the Chamber has launched a transparency initiative to track the work of local government and to identify ways that openness and access can be improved.
“Open government gives our members and the broader community the ability to be more informed and to influence decisions, which in turn will help build economic equity, equality and accessibility,” said Erin Predmore, the Chamber’s President & CEO.
The City of Bloomington and Monroe County government already take actions related to these goals. Many public meetings, but not all, are recorded by Community Access Television Services (CATS) and are broadcast live or available later on the CATS website. The agendas, packets and meetings for many public meetings, but not all, are posted online. Many meetings, but not all, are noticed in a timely and accessible way.
The Chamber is tracking 82 councils, boards and commissions that govern and advise the City of Bloomington and Monroe County. We are tracking whether meeting minutes, agendas and packets are posted online in a timely way, and whether contact information is posted for these entities. As of January 2020, 45 are in the “red zone,” with up-to-date information unavailable in at least two of the four categories that we’re tracking. We will continue to monitor these groups and post updates on our Transparency in Government site.
We can do better. Here are some ways that local government can improve.
“Elected officials often encourage residents to get involved in local government, but don’t remove the barriers that prevent people from engaging,” Predmore said. “Easier access to information, a true commitment to transparency, and systemic changes are needed as we aspire to more inclusive decision-making for our community.”
Four state legislators reviewed actions of the current Indiana General Assembly Session and answered questions from residents at a Feb. 15 Legislative Update forum. The event was co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
Legislators in attendance were Sen. Mark Stoops (District 40), Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61), and Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62). The panel was moderated by Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy.
The final forum of this legislative session will be held on Saturday, March 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
Click here to watch the Feb. 15 forum on CATS. Coverage from the B Square Beacon: "Redistricting question served up to state legislators, talk turns again to local issue."
Four state legislators shared their insights about the current Indiana General Assembly Session and answered questions from residents at a Jan. 25 Legislative Update forum. The event was organized by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
Legislators in attendance were Sen. Mark Stoops (District 40), Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61), and Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62).
Upcoming forums will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, March 21. Each forum runs from 9:30-11 a.m. at Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
Click here to watch the Jan. 25 forum on CATS.
Read the Herald-Times coverage here (paywall): "Area lawmakers discuss healthcare, redistricting and more at forum."
Read the B Square Beacon coverage here: "State legislator to Bloomington redistricting advocates: 'Show us on a local level.'"
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy