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Bloomington Commits To Park, Mulls Garbage Rates

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 06:38:16 CDT
By: Rachel Darling

Bloomington Commits To Park, Mulls Garbage Rates At last night's meeting Benjamin Dutton of Faithful Gould presentedBloomington's Alderman with their best options for fixing the city's infrastructure and buildings while avoiding fiscal disaster. Faithful Gould, a facility consulting service, created a facility condition assessment for the City. The assessment covered 49 buildings and provided proactive solutions over the course of ten years to allow the city to prevent costly system failures and repairs. Spokesman Dutton says the city's current spending is "in line" with national standards...

   

"Our findings on your buildings were that they were maintained well. They're generally good buildings; but, there just hasn't been the adequate level of ongoing capital replacement and capital repair required to really address a lot of the defective conditions we've seen."

Dutton says Bloomington mostly costly repairs are water department-related and suggested a proactive approach to curtail future repairs at a higher cost, due to increased damage over time.

The City of Bloomington will purchase new playground equipment for Pepper Ridge Park and Suburban East Park. The decision came with only two "no" votes from alderman Kevin Lower and Judy Stearns. Alderman Lower says the purchase seemed "discretionary"...

   

"It along with a number of other discretionary items could be put off to a later date. It's not indicated that it is unsafe. It's indicated that its depreciated to a point at which it's not usable."

Alderman Robert Fazzini disagreed saying the city should capitalize on the offer...

   

"We're a community that's known for its parks, and very good parks in fact. And I think this is one way to keep it that way. And when we have an opportunity to $137,000 dollars worth of work for $58,000 thousand dollars, I think we have to look at that extra-special."

The upgrade of the twenty-year-old park will be funded by private dollars from the manufacturer earmarked for the city, not a federal or state grant.

Also at last night's meeting City staff presented the Bloomington City Council with three scenarios that could help solve the city's waste removal services budget issues. The scenarios featured "fast, "slow", and "medium," transition time-lines with varying features. These scenarios are targeted to replace the usual 1.2 million dollar General Fund contribution that keeps the city's curbside pick-up and bulky waste removal services running. Fiscal year 2015 will require even more money to meet service demands --without a funding reserve to stay on budget. program.

The city's program is facing increasing costs in fiscal year 2015, without General Fund reserves to rely on. The scenarios included possibilities like a structured, annually increasing rate program, called "pay as your throw," free second recycling bins, and the option to buy additional bags. The scenarios, based on data collected by city staff, have varying time-lines for fee increases dictated by resident use between $1 and $3 dollars a year depending on cart size.

The fast option focused on implementing an annually increasing, structured rate system for bulk and curbside waste removal, phasing out the need for the current General Fund contribution by 2016. The medium option--which received praise from both city staff and the alderman--focused on a similar system, with a more gradual increase and low-income program. The slow option had the same features, but with an even slower annual increase of fees, making the waste removal program fully solvent by 2018.
   

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