|TAX HIKE FOR THE BIRDS: Bloomington's mayor wants to raise taxes
to pay for flamingos.
Bloomington city leaders are trying to hammer out a new budget by the end of
the month, and it appears the city will rely solely on tax increases to get the
Mayor Tari Renner wants to raise more than $5 million in new taxes to pay for
additional spending in Bloomington's proposed $91 million budget.
Last week, alderman approved $4.1 million in new taxes, but Renner vetoed the
plan, saying it wasn't enough.
Bloomington must have $1.5 million more for police and fire pensions, but
Alderman Judy Stearns said the city doesn't need to spend $250,000 on a flamingo
exhibit at the city-owned zoo, nor does the city need to spend $1 million on
outside lawyers or another $250,000 on food and travel.
"For early city meetings, I favor Council bringing their own food or paying for
it, and I just do not see the need for Directors or Managers to take people to
lunch," Stearns wrote in an email to Renner. "I know it's good for morale, but
how many of us would dream of getting this perk in our own jobs?"
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Stearns has a list of almost $5 million in spending cuts that
have largely been ignored.
Renner has brushed off her requests, saying Bloomington's
"quality of life would suffer."
That line, about quality of life, is popular with some other
"We have to remember that people must continue to enjoy living in
Bloomington," Alderman Mboka Mwilambwe said in an email. "So for me,
it is all about achieving balance: careful cuts, raising a little
bit of revenue and being conservative in how we spend the allocated
revenue through the upcoming year."
article courtesy of
Contact Benjamin Yount at
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