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Blm council gets input on budget

Tue, 26 Mar 2013 04:52:24 CDT
By: Rachel Darling

Several Bloomington residents gave the City Council their opinions about its financial performance, at the public hearing held before the regular Bloomington City Council meeting. Resident Carl Woodward says he wants to see a financial plan and urged the council to take action...

   

"If you think I'm full of balogna...tell me, but you're being irresponsible as a group. If you look at your debt for the last six or seven years --go look at how much your debt was six or seven years ago versus now. You think we're a lot better off?"

Other residents expressed concerns about the city's budget priorities, overspending, aging infrastructure, and pensions for fire fighters, police officers, and first-responders. The city council will vote on the proposed budget April 8.

After the public hearing, the council passed a motion to renew a towing contract with Joe's Towing. Alderman Judy Stearns gave the only "nay" vote, citing concerns about residents incurring large, confusing fees...

   

"I've just hear..you know these kind of, nightmarish stories of this huge fee that the person, the individual, the owner doesn't understand."

Stearns asked about the possibility of an eight-hour leniency provision to help residents avoid storage fees if their car is towed. Bloomington Police Chief Clay Wheeler and the owner of Joes' Towing and Recovery General Manager Bruce Pedigo answered council's questions. Pedigo assured the alderman that a leniency provision was an option, that could be added at a later time.

The council ended the meeting by discussing the current situation of its traffic control tower. Bloomington Mayor Steve Stockton says the FAA denied the city's appeal to keep its tower open. Stockton says working with other cities to mount a legal effort against the FAA and other collaborative are options...

   

"The opportunity to band together with other local governments to keep the tower open at our own expense...all though there could be the opportunity of seeking reimbursement."

Stockton says the the city is being "unfairly closed out." Alderman Robert Fazzini says one reason the Bloomington tower is being shut down may be that the FAA pays for the tower employees. The Bloomington tower uses contract workers. Fazzini says contract workers cost the FAA less than city employees, making the city a more cost effective option; however, that financial reality is not reflected in the closures...

   

"Peoria on the other hand, uses its own employees and costs the FAA more money, and they're going to get to stay open."

That discrepancy, Fazzini says, "doesn't make sense."

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