The ordinance was given a 32-word title: “Ordinance 23-11 – To Amend Title 6 of the Bloomington Municipal Code Entitled “Health and Sanitation” – Re: Updating and Harmonizing Chapters 4 and 5 of Title 6 of the Bloomington Municipal Code.”
At first glance, this title makes the proposed revision to the law seem innocuous.
However, buried inside this verbose yet opaque title is a major increase in the trash collection fees paid by residents—which is surely controversial.
An expected up-down vote on the question of Greg Alexander’s removal from Bloomington’s traffic commission did not take place at Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
The motion for Alexander’s removal—because of Tweets he posted late last year—had been postponed from the council’s March 29 meeting. That postponement had unanimous support from the council, in order to give Alexander at least five business days to respond in writing to the specific reasons listed out in the motion.
On Wednesday, councilmember Dave Rollo wound up withdrawing his motion to remove Alexander.
At its Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council approved the appropriation of $391,906—to address substance abuse, outreach to the houseless community, and other programs to be determined by the city’s community and family resources department (CFRD).
The amount appropriated on Monday ($391,906) was the total paid to the city of Bloomington in 2022 through the opioid settlement. That total was made up of $315,334 in restricted funds and $76,572 in unrestricted funds.
The restricted funds have to be spent on treatment, prevention, and care for substance use disorder.
As a part of the opioid settlement agreement, Bloomington is supposed to receive a total of about $1.95 million over a period of 18 years.
Bloomington city councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith.
Bloomington city councilmember Susan Sandberg.
Bloomington city councilmember Steve Volan.
Bloomington city councilmember Jim Sims.
Doris Sims is the Bloomington city council’s appointee to the five-member board of City of Bloomington Capital Improvement, Inc. (CBCI)—the new nonprofit recently formed by mayor John Hamilton’s administration.
Sims is former director of Bloomington’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department. She retired from that role in early 2021. She’s married to city councilmember Jim Sims.
Support for Doris Sims as the council’s appointee to CBCI was enthusiastic and uniform across the dais at the city council’s Wednesday’s meeting.
But some councilmembers, including Jim Sims, took the occasion to criticize the four-to-one split in appointments that was established in the bylaws for the CBCI board—four for the mayor and one for the city council.
On Wednesday, there was some discussion by councilmembers about the idea of not making an appointment to the board, as a way to express the council’s displeasure at the uneven split, and to leverage a change to the bylaws.
But Jim Sims weighed in against making a political chess game out of the appointment. He put it like this: “[Doris] wants to do this service.” He added, “So anything that we might discuss or lead to, that could cause her to be a pawn in this deal will not happen this evening—at least from my standpoint.”
Four weeks ago, Bloomington’s city council delayed a vote on the question of removing Greg Alexander from the traffic commission—by referring the matter to an already established committee on council processes.
In the meantime, that committee has met three times.
This Wednesday, the question of Alexander’s removal from the traffic commission will again be put in front of the council, but this time with a recommendation from the committee.
The original motion, made by Dave Rollo at the council’s Feb. 1 meeting, described the cause for removal as “…posting obscene and inappropriate statements…” on social media.
The committee’s recommendation is neither in favor or against Alexander’s removal.
If the full council follows the committee’s recommendation, it seems unlikely the question will get decided this Wednesday.
After weighing a recent court case, and considerations of what can count as a cause for removal, due process, and First Amendment questions, the committee’s recommendation is for the motion to be withdrawn.
When no ordinary parking tickets were issued to scooter companies, that came as a surprise to some residents—given the number of scooters they routinely encountered blocking ADA ramps and sidewalks in the downtown area, or in their residential neighborhoods.
The lack of any citations was especially unexpected, in light of the assurance given by city attorney Mike Rouker on July 31, 2019— the night the city council enacted the scooter ordinance. Rouker said that if scooter parking became a problem, parking fines would be imposed on scooter companies whenever the city saw a parking problem.
In August 2022, The B Square raised a question to Bloomington’s corporation counsel, Beth Cate, about the enforceability of the city’s ordinance that regulates shared electric scooter parking. That email went unanswered.