BLOOMINGTON — The city of Bloomington wanted to hear from its residents on how their money should be spent — and got a long list of suggestions in return.
Aldermen will use the recommendations and information collected from an online survey to help them prioritize the city's spending. The fiscal year 2016 budget must be approved by April 30; City Manager David Hales will submit the proposed budget to the council by Feb. 23.
Aldermen in Wards 2, 6 and 7 are hosting a related town-hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Miller Park Pavilion. A second town-hall meeting is set March 10.
The "citizen summit" held earlier this week focused on three areas: public safety; solid waste; and parks, recreation and cultural arts. About 100 residents, invited by aldermen and Mayor Tari Renner, submitted recommendations after small-group discussions.
A full list of their recommendations is available at the city's website. A sampling included:
- Cut expenses; don't cut public safety
- Maintain quality of service
- Address response times
- Outsource jobs that do not require pension
- Reduce/cut unions; "will not be easy"
- Address building needs and future of empty fire station
- Add fire station
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
- Cut 12 employees
- Reduce subsidies for Miller Park Zoo and Bloomington Center for Performing Arts
- Find private sponsors for zoo, BCPA
- Privatize or franchise golf courses
- Upgrade Constitution Trail
- Upgrade Miller Park Pavilion
- Consider selling U.S. Cellular Coliseum
- Combine Bloomington and Normal parks and recreation departments
- Pick up trash same day as recycling
- Determine process/fees for heavy users
- Charge fees based on amount, frequency of pickup
- Include businesses in recycling effort
- Encourage recycling by increasing garbage fees
- Study bulky waste; cost of pickup versus use of drop-off facility