BLOOMINGTON — A vote on how to pay for the city's solid waste services tops a list of budget-related issues the Bloomington City Council will consider Monday at a special meeting.

"We would like some guidance on the big issues so we can begin to present a draft balanced budget" on Feb. 26, said interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen. "That's what our calendar calls for."

The special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday will be followed by the council's regular session at 7 p.m., which will deal with creating a tax increment financing district to help fund redeveloping the former Bloomington High School, 510 E. Washington St. and other properties near downtown. Aldermen are expected to schedule an April 9 hearing on creating a TIF district, which sets aside increases in property taxes in a given area for economic development there.

Public Works Director Jim Karch said he will ask the council at the special meeting to consider choosing one of three proposals for the solid waste program.

One would direct city staff to investigate and bid outsourcing the solid waste program, which currently includes garbage, bulky waste, brush and leaf collections at the curbside.

The second would propose increasing monthly residential trash cart fees, which range from $16 to $25 now, by $2 to $4. Solid waste collection costs the city about $7.4 million a year, but the fees collected from property owners leave an annual gap of about $1.1 million.

The third option would reduce the frequency of bulk and brush collections while maintaining current service levels for garbage, recycling and leaves and consolidate garbage and recycling pickup into two shifts.

Rasmussen also will ask the council at the special meeting for direction on three new revenue-raising options: charging for parking in the public garages and lots during special events downtown; increasing various fees for city services; and developing a business registration program with fees.

The council also will consider at the special meeting spending $20,000 to hire  GovHR USA LLC to recruit candidates for city manager. Rasmussen, then assistant city manager, was named interim city manager Nov. 8 to replace David Hales and has said he would be a candidate for the permanent appointment. 

In the regular session, the council also is expected to vote on budgeting $490,000 for its share of a project with McLean County to expand the intersection of Towanda Barnes and Ireland Grove roads.

A welcoming-city ordinance discussion and vote was canceled, so that issue is not the agenda for either meeting.

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

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