2023 Bloomington budget highlights: 24 new jobs, potential increases for trash fees, parking rates

A department-by-department breakdown of Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s proposed 2023 budget was released on Friday.

Still missing from the release are memos from city controller Jeff Underwood and human resources department head Caroline Shaw, which are supposed to include an overview of city-wide finances and salary/benefits.

Those memos were described early Friday as forthcoming.

But responding around 9:15 p.m. on Friday to a B Square query, communications director Andrew Krebbs indicated the memos would not be issued that evening. Krebbs also could not give an estimated time when they would be produced.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2022. The memos were released around 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29: controller/HR memos]

Based on a B Square parsing of all the relevant tables in the 346-page document, the proposed total expenditures for all the departments in the city amount to around $117 million, or at least $10 million more than last year. Those figures do not include the budgets for Bloomington Transit, city of Bloomington utilities, or Bloomington Housing Authority.

The $117 million is an unofficial total, not just because it can’t be confirmed against the controller’s memo. The figure does not include lost revenue due to circuit breakers (tax caps) or debt service.  For 2022,  the tax caps accounted for about $0.5 million, while debt service came in at about $2 million.

The narratives in the document released on Friday reflect a net gain of 24 new positions with the city. The city has around 850 employees. Responding to a request from The B Square, Krebbs provided a breakdown of new positions in a table, which is included at the end of this article.

Highlights of new positions include a compensation and benefits director for the HR department, who will oversee pay, insurance, and other benefit-related products, services, and programs. The HR department will also add a talent acquisition specialist. The controller’s office will add a grant research and sourcing manager.

Utilities will add six positions. The fire department will add a deputy fire marshal and two community care coordinators, and the police department will add three community care specialists. Parks will add five new positions, but will eliminate three temporary jobs, for a new gain of two.

Mentioned in the narrative of the budget book are at least two possible rate increases. The sanitation division of public works lists as a goal over the next 3 years the elimination of the current roughly $1-million annual general fund support for sanitation services. That will mean an increase for trash collection fees.

The elimination of general fund support for trash collection, so that it is funded solely by fees, is something some city councilmembers pushed for last year. The push to eliminate general fund support is based on the idea that residents of buildings with more than four units are not provided with city sanitation service. A trash fee increase would need approval from the city council separately from its approval of the 2023 budget.

[Added Aug. 29, 2022: Also a significant change, which should have been included as a highlight in this report, is the elimination of the street division’s loose leaf collection program in the fall. “Leafing collection activities conducted by the Street Division will cease at the end of 2022 and will not be programmed for 2023.” ]

Also mentioned as a part of the goals for the transportation demand manager is collaboration with the parking services division of public works and the parking commission to review parking rates in the first half of 2023. That could lead to a reduction in prices in some areas, and increases in others, but likely will amount to an overall increase. Metered street parking now costs $1 an hour. Parking rates have not been increased in several years.

Starting next week (Aug. 29) on four successive nights, the city council will receive presentations from department heads on their respective budgets. The schedule of presentations is available on the city council’s meeting information page. Here’s a link: city council meeting information page.

A final budget with potential revisions is supposed to be presented at the end of September with a vote by the city council to adopt it sometime in October.

2023 Bloomington Budget: Proposed new positions 

Position FTE Department
Part-time Laborer – Environmental 0.75 Utilities – Environmental
MEO – Environmental 1 Utilities – Environmental
Water Specialist – Environmental 0.75 Utilities – Environmental
Assistant Superintendent 1 Utilities- Blucher Poole Plant
Assistant Superintendent 1 Utilities- Dillman Plant
Field Engineering Technician 1 Utilities-T&D
Assistant Superintendent 1 Utilities-Water Plant
Digital Equity Specialist and Navigator 0.5 ITS
Social Worker 1 Dispatch
Community Care Coordinators 1 Fire
Community Care Coordinators 1 Fire
Deputy Fire Marshall 1 Fire
Program Manager – Affordable Housing 1 HAND
Director of Compensation and Benefits 1 Human Resources
Talent Acquisition Specialist 1 Human Resources
Community Care Specialist 1 Police
Community Care Specialist 1 Police
Community Care Specialist 1 Police
Engineering Field Specialist 1 Engineering
Admin Assistant to Talent Coordinator 0.4 Human Resources
Zoning Planner 0.5 P&T
CSR to Admin Assistant 0.25 Parks
Sports Specialist 1 Parks
Foreperson 1 Parks
Laborer – Sanitation 1 Parks
Laborer – Urban Greenspace – Land 1 Parks
Laborer – Urban Greenspace – Veg Management 1 Parks
Parks – Temporary -3 Parks
Fleet Mechanic 1 Public Works – Fleet
Special Projects Coordinator 1 CFRD
Grant Research and Sourcing Manager 1 Controller
TOTAL 24.15 CITYWIDE

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