At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council made Ron Smith its appointee to the city plan commission for the coming year.
The other councilmember who had asked to be appointed was Isabel Piedmont-Smith.
For Piedmont-Smith it was the second year in a row that she was not the council’s pick as its appointment to the plan commission. The outcome was decided by the same 5–4 margin. Last year, it was Susan Sandberg who was put in the plan commission seat.
The five voting for Smith were: Smith, Susan Sandberg, Sue Sgambelluri, Dave Rollo, and Jim Sims. The four voting for Piedmont-Smith were: Piedmont-Smith, Matt Flaherty, Steve Volan and Kate Rosenbarger.
Also on Wednesday’s agenda was a resolution that would eliminate most of the council’s standing committees.
After two hours of debate, mostly in the guise of questions that were put to the resolution’s sponsors, the council voted to postpone consideration of the resolution until its Jan. 19 meeting.
The resolution eliminating several of the council’s standing committees is sponsored by Sandberg, Sgambelluri and Sims.
Looking east around 8 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2022 towards the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack.
In a news release issued early Thursday morning, the city of Bloomington announced that it has issued an “Unsafe Building Order to Repair” to the owners of the the old Johnson Creamery building on 7th Street, across the B-Line Trail from city hall.
The reason for the unsafe building order, according to Thursday’s news release, is the 140-foot-tall smokestack, which is located on the property. The iconic smokestack has vertical lettering that reads “Johnson’s” on its east side.
This is Ryder, a dog currently housed at Bloomington’s animal shelter and available for adoption.
At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council approved an agreement with the other governments in the county that spells out how Bloomington’s cost is covered for animals surrendered to the city shelter by non-city county residents and county animal control officers.
At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) gave a green light to the next incremental step in the construction of a technology center north of Bloomington’s city hall building, in the Trades District.
The center is expected to break ground in mid-2022 and be open in early- to mid-2024, according to Bloomington director of economic and sustainable development Alex Crowley.
The timing depends in part on some back-and-forth the city is having with the federal Economic Development administration (EDA), in connection with a $3.5 million grant awarded by the EDA for the center, Crowley wrote in a late-December email to The B Square.
At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) signed off on a proposed plat for some of the land to be redeveloped as a part of the reuse project for the former IU Health hospital at 2nd and Rogers Streets.
A plat is a map that shows how the land is divided into lots.
What the RDC was approving was the submission of the plat to the city plan commission. Once the plan commission approves it, probably at its Feb. 7 meeting, the RDC will confirm the plat with another vote, according to the RDC’s meeting information packet.
Last Wednesday, the annual election of Bloomington city council officers—president, vice president, and parliamentarian—took about an hour.
On a vote that was split 5–4, the council put Susan Sandberg, instead of Matt Flaherty, in the president’s chair. On a vote that was also split 5–4, the council returned Sue Sgambelluri to the vice president’s seat, instead of putting Flaherty there.
Questioning of candidates for the leadership positions was sharp, fueled by conflicts over the first two years of the current council’s four-year term.
Even though Dave Rollo was the only candidate put forward for parliamentarian, he was questioned by Flaherty in a way that alluded to an aggravated verbal exchange between the two at an early March 2021 meeting.
The 5–4 split was the same for the vote on president and vice president.
Voting for Sandberg and Sgambelluri were: Susan Sandberg, Sue Sgambelluri, Dave Rollo, Ron Smith, and Jim Sims. Voting for Flaherty both times were: Matt Flaherty, Kate Rosenbarger, Isabel Piedmont-Smith, and Steve Volan.
No one dissented on the vote for Rollo as parliamentarian.
The city’s policy requires employees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or get tested weekly for an infection. If any employee does not show proof of vaccination or get tested weekly, then under the policy, they will be “removed from the workplace until they provide a test result.”
Absences caused by failure to comply with the vax-or-test policy will necessarily mean lost income. The policy states: “They will not be allowed to use benefit time to cover their absences; the absence will be unpaid.”
On Saturday morning through mid-day, a dozen or so members of the city’s AFSCME local, including some workers in the public works and utilities departments, demonstrated on the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington against the city’s vax-or-test policy. They held signs with slogans like, “Please Don’t Abuse Loyal Employees” and “Keep Compassion in Fashion”
Remonstration means signing an official petition in opposition to annexation. On Thursday, the Monroe County auditor’s office had fresh signature numbers to report, as of Wednesday.
Based on those numbers, property owners in six of seven areas have a decent chance of blocking Bloomington’s annexation effort outright. In those six areas, more than 65 percent of property owners have submitted signatures. That’s the key threshold.
Here’s the breakdown: Area 1-A (73.83%); Area 1-B( 56.90%); Area 1-C (87.62%); Area 2 (80.44%); Area 3 (75.25%); Area 4 (71.74%); and Area 5 (68.13%)
The numbers reported on Thursday do not reflect the county auditor’s final determination. Any number of reasons could still cause the auditor, on further review, to conclude that a signature is not valid. Among the reasons: The signature a duplicate.
The auditor could also conclude that a remonstrance waiver attached to a property in connection with sewer service is valid, which would eliminate the signature from the count.
About the timeline for final counts, Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith told The B Square: “We know it won’t be any sooner than the third week of January.” That depends in part on how long some final back-and-forth takes between the auditor’s office and Bloomington’s city attorney.
This Tyranno-cyclist Rex on the 7th Street underpass is an endangered species after approval of a contract to refurbish the 7th Street underpass mural.
7th Street underpass.
Looking east across the site of the Curry Urban Properties construction site on Pete Ellis Drive.
Bloomington’s short-handed board of public works still worked its way through a Tuesday agenda that included: renewal of the $10,000 annual licenses for two scooter companies; an agreement with an artist to refurbish the 7th Street underpass mural; two public improvement bond estimates; and a noise permit for a Rally for Life event.
The three-member board has one open seat, due to the resignation of Dana Henke, which was effective at the end of the year. For Tuesday’s meeting, that still left a quorum in the form of Kyla Cox Deckard and Beth Hollingsworth. Acting as president for Tuesday’s meeting was the board’s secretary, Kyla Cox Deckard.