Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith and Ed Ochsner (Oct. 8, 2021)
Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith, Ed Ochsner and Jean Donatiello (Oct. 8, 2021)
Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith (left) and Susan Brackney (Oct. 8, 2021)
On Friday morning, the first remonstrators against Bloomington’s annexations showed up at Monroe County courthouse.
Friday was the start to the formal petitioning process for property owners inside any of the seven areas that Bloomington wants to annex. That’s because Friday’s edition of The Herald-Times carried a public notice of the city council’s adoption of annexation ordinances.
At its regular Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council ratified garbage collection fees that expired nearly a year ago, on Nov. 1, 2020.
In the future, the council won’t have to worry about fees expiring. That’s because on Wednesday, the council eliminated the city code’s entire “sunset” clause for the fees.
The sunset clause was added as an amendment, when the council adopted the 2017 ordinance that set the fees for the new system of refuse carts.
The clause was intended to trigger a review of rates, after sufficient data had been collected by public works staff from the new system.
Wednesday’s action did not raise garbage collection rates.
Based on March 22, 2017 meeting minutes, the council was supposed to undertake a rate review last year with an eye towards possibly providing a rebate to residents who generate less garbage.
Based on the meeting minutes, it appears that the debate on the exact date of the sunset clause lasted about an hour. The initial date proposed was July 1, 2019, but public works director Adam Wason said if there were to be a sunset date, he’d prefer Nov. 1, 2020. Wason said the later date would allow more data to be collected.
On Wednesday, the ordinance passed by the city council was approved at the same meeting on the same day when it was first introduced, which required and received a unanimous vote.
Under state law, the council is able to ratify the authorization of the fees retroactively, according to assistant city attorney Larry Allen.
Last week the recycling service was cancelled, because not enough sanitation workers were available to work. Several workers had tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic virus.
For residents whose recycling efforts exceed the size of the cart in any one week, for the coming week, they can set out additional items in other containers. The news release cautions, “Recycling placed in plastic bags will not be collected.”
Last week, the news release announcing the cancellation of recycling pickup did not come until Sunday afternoon.
The word did not get out to every resident. A uReport from Thursday noted: “Although my trash was taken my recycling was left Tuesday morning. There was no indication or notice sticker as to why.”
A rezone petition for a 44-acre piece of land south of Bloomington’s current boundaries was denied on a unanimous vote of the three Monroe County commissioners at their regular Wednesday meeting.
The rezoning, from estate residential (RE1) to medium density residential (MR), would have allowed around 125 single-family houses to be built there, about three times as many as the roughly 40 that would be possible under the current zoning.
A planned water rate increase for Bloomington utilities (CBU) customers will likely be put in place as planned on Jan. 1, 2022.
That was the big news out of Monday’s regular meeting of Bloomington’s utilities service board (USB).
At Monday’s meeting, CBU director Vic Kelson told the board that a settlement in principle had been reached last week with all the interveners in the case, which include Indiana University and Washington Township Water Authority.
Kelson told the USB he could not discuss any details, but the filing of the settlement with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) is supposed to be done by Oct. 6, with a hearing set for Oct. 22.
The heights of the two red lines are set at 21.2 and 42.4 cases per day, which correspond to 100 and 200 cases per week per 100,000 residents in the county. Those are the benchmarks for the color-coded system used by the state to measure community spread.
The percentage of eligible Monroe County residents who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic virus is still just under 60 percent.
At the current pace of vaccinations in the county, which is around 60 additional people a day, it will take another week or so to eke out the next few tenths of a point to get past the 60-percent milestone.
At Friday’s weekly news conference of local leaders on pandemic response, Monroe County’s department of health public information officer Kathy Hewett said about the remaining 40 percent of the eligible population, “We still have a ways to go.”