The Bloomington City Council approved a new budget for the 2014 fiscal year. Set to take effect May 1 of this year, the approximately $168 million dollar budget passed seven to two. Before the vote Mayor Steve Stockton asked the council to come to "a consensus" and to not "throw the baby out with the bath water." City Manager David Hales mentioned Bloomington's credit standing...
"We're only one step away from a triple-A credit rating. And that is phenomenal to see, you know, just the progress made."
Alderman Rob Fazzini says he is "confident" in the city's financial planning...
"We're doing, on your behalf, what we need to on the budget. I support it fully."
Alderman Steven Purcell and Judy Stearns voted against the budget with concerns about the city's pension commitments.
The Council also approved $600,000 dollars for the Eagle View Park project at last night's meeting. A state grant cut the initial 1 million dollar construction cost for the park by $400,000 dollars. Mayor Steve Stockton asked the council to consider cost benefits of building the park now...
"If we say 'Let's kick the can down the road, maybe we'll build it next year,' it is likely that we could lose the state grant. And if we kick it down the road to next year that will be one million dollars."
Alderman Steven Purcell preferred the money go to other budget concerns saying "pensions before parks." Alderman Judy Stearns echoed Purcell concerns adding, "infrastructure and pensions before parks." The council voted five to four in its favor.
Illinois State University's liquor license to sell beer and wine, in conjunction with the Shakespeare Festival, also passed.
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