Bloomington city council overrides mayoral veto on convention center governance, path forward unclear

A mayoral veto of a Bloomington city council resolution supporting a capital improvement board (CIB) as the governance method for a convention center expansion, has been overridden by the city council.

It was at 3:15 p.m. Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, when Bloomington mayor John Hamilton issued his veto of the council’s Dec. 14 resolution.

In December the council had approved the resolution by an 8–1 vote, with Kate Rosenbarger as the sole voice of dissent.

At this Wednesday’s city council meeting, the outcome of the vote was the same, satisfying the two-thirds majority required under city code to override the mayor’s veto.

On Wednesday as in December, Rosenbarger’s dissent was not based on any support for Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s preferred convention center expansion governance structure, which is a 501(c)(3). Instead, Rosenbarger is skeptical that a convention center expansion should be built at all.

Continue reading “Bloomington city council overrides mayoral veto on convention center governance, path forward unclear”

Ice storm: Bloomington mayor vetoes city council resolution on CIB for convention center expansion

A Bloomington city council resolution in support of a capital improvement board (CIB) as the governance method for a convention center expansion, has been vetoed by mayor John Hamilton.

The announcement of the veto came at 3:15 p.m. Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, when local overnight temperatures had dipped as low as –8 F.

The council had approved the resolution by an 8–1 vote at its Dec. 14 meeting. The sole dissenter was Kate Rosenbarger.

Hamilton’s veto statement recites the reasons that the administration has previously given against the use of a CIB, and for a 501(c)(3). Those reasons include the idea that the only way to make a CIB palatable to the city would also make it too “cumbersome.” Continue reading “Ice storm: Bloomington mayor vetoes city council resolution on CIB for convention center expansion”

Bloomington city council supports CIB for convention center, but county ordinance likely needs redoing

By a vote of 8-1 at its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council passed a resolution of support for establishing a capital improvement board (CIB) to serve as the governance structure for an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.

Dissenting on the vote was Kate Rosenbarger, who expressed frustration with the amount of time the council was given to consider the issue, as well as some skepticism about the need for additional convention space.

A CIB is a seven-member group that under state law can be established by county commissioners as a public body,  which makes it subject to Indiana’s laws on public meetings and access to records.

Under state law, a CIB can acquire real estate, build improvements, collect money and hire employees, among other things.

Instead of a CIB, mayor John Hamilton’s administration favors a 501(c)(3) nonprofit as the governance structure for a convention center expansion.

In a public statement released on Tuesday before the council’s Wednesday meeting, Hamilton restated that position.  Hamilton is quoted in the statement saying about a CIB “I will not endorse launching a process that I don’t believe will bring the result our community wants and deserves…”

At the city council’s Wednesday meeting, Bloomington public engagement director Mary Catherine Carmichael repeated the administration’s preference for a 501(c)(3) model. The following day, the administration announced Carmichael’s appointment as deputy mayor, to succeed Don Griffin, who has resigned effective at the end of the year in order to run for mayor.

The mayor’s current opposition to a CIB means the ordinance approved by county commissioners on Nov. 9, which established a CIB, will likely be void, unless there’s a dramatic reversal before the end of the year.

The ordinance establishes a CIB only if the city council and mayor agree to the terms in the ordinance. Continue reading “Bloomington city council supports CIB for convention center, but county ordinance likely needs redoing”

Bloomington’s city council to consider backing CIB model for convention center expansion

At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council will consider a resolution of support for a capital improvement board (CIB) as the governance structure for an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.

The existing convention center is located at the corner of College Avenue and 3rd Street.

The council’s resolution is a response to an ordinance approved by Monroe County commissioners a month ago, on Nov. 9, which establishes a CIB for the convention center expansion, but makes its enactment conditional.

In the ordinance passed by county commissioners, the establishment of a CIB for governance of a convention center expansion is contingent on the “city of Bloomington mayor and common council’s agreement with the terms of this ordinance.”

If by Jan. 1, 2023, the mayor and the city council don’t send the county commissioners an indication that they agree with the terms of the county ordinance, the ordinance is void.

The backdrop to the city council’s consideration of CIB resolution is Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s strong preference not to use a CIB, but rather a nonprofit, specifically a 501(c)(3), to have jurisdiction over a convention center expansion. It’s an approach that would give the city more control.

In August of this year, Hamilton announced that he wanted the city to handle the convention center expansion on its own, without the kind of ongoing collaboration that had been previously  envisioned by

Also a part of the backdrop for the city-county back-and-forth over the convention center expansion is a sense of urgency, because of the possible sunsetting of food and beverage taxes in Indiana, as part of the General Assembly’s legislative agenda during its 2023 session.

Monroe County’s 1-percent food and beverage tax was enacted by the county council in 2017, specifically in order to fund a convention center expansion. Continue reading “Bloomington’s city council to consider backing CIB model for convention center expansion”

Column: For convention center governance, it’s a clear choice—the one subject to the Open Door Law

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. City and county officials gathered in the Nat U. Hill Room at Monroe County courthouse. From right: county commissioners Penny Githens, Julie Thomas, and Lee Jones; county councilors Peter Iversen and Geoff McKim; city councilmember Sue Sgambelluri, Bloomington public engagement director Mary Catherine Carmichael, and city councilmember Susan Sandberg. On screen is Bloomington mayor John Hamilton.

City and county officials met on Wednesday at the county courthouse to discuss a possible path forward towards expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.

In his public commentary at the meeting, Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce president Eric Spoonmore called the meeting “some of the most substantive progress that we’ve made on this expansion in six years.”

Spoonmore added, “Whether the final outcome is through [a CIB (capital improvement board)], or whether it’s through a 501(c)(3), either option is fine with us.” Continue reading “Column: For convention center governance, it’s a clear choice—the one subject to the Open Door Law”

Meeting set on Nov. 9 for city, county officials to talk more about convention center expansion

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, many elected and appointed officials across Monroe County will be reviewing election results from the day before.

But some of those officials have a meeting set for Nov. 9 to talk about the possible future expansion of the Monroe County convention center.

The idea of a joint effort by Bloomington and Monroe County to expand the existing convention center has been pursued for several years, but had stalled just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, amid wrangling over governance issues.

According to county commissioners administrator Angie Purdie, the 1 p.m. meeting in the Nat U. Hill room of the Monroe County courthouse is supposed to include the mayor’s office in the form of Bloomington’s director of public engagement (Mary Catherine Carmichael), two city councilmembers (Susan Sandberg and Sue Sgambelluri), two county councilors (Geoff McKim and Cheryl Munson), and all three county commissioners.

For advocates of a county convention center expansion that would be undertaken as a collaborative effort by the county and the city, the scheduling of the meeting will likely come as welcome news. Continue reading “Meeting set on Nov. 9 for city, county officials to talk more about convention center expansion”

Big meeting makes little progress on convention center expansion agreement, smaller group to try again

In three weeks, a group of four city and county officials will try to achieve what a larger group of 13 electeds could not accomplish on Monday night.

Monday’s meeting was the third one this year that has tried to build on some momentum from December, when Bloomington and Monroe County officials finally agreed that a capital improvement board (CIB) would provide the governance structure for the project.

If the details can be worked out, the idea is for the county commissioners to create a CIB, so that an architect can be put under contract for the design and construction phase of a planned $44-million convention center expansion project.

The project has been stalled over governance issues for nearly 10 months—since May 19 last year when a steering committee voted to recommend a northward expansion of the convention center.

The next public meeting, now pencilled in for March 23, will include just one county councilor, one city councilmember, one county commissioner and Bloomington’s mayor.

The four will try to hammer through the points of disagreement about the four-way interlocal agreement that is supposed to help guide the governance of the convention center expansion project. Continue reading “Big meeting makes little progress on convention center expansion agreement, smaller group to try again”

County, city leaders review draft interlocal agreement for convention center capital improvement board, set next meeting for Feb. 10

Several Bloomington and Monroe County officials met Monday evening to push ahead the $44-million convention center expansion project. They reviewed a draft interlocal agreement, circulated shortly before the meeting, that is intended to supplement statutory requirements for the eventual formation of a capital improvement board (CIB).

The three county commissioners, in addition to several members of the city and county councils, were joined by Bloomington’s deputy mayor, Mick Renneisen at the meeting they’d set at the end of last year.

Monday’s discussion centered on budgets, land, and appointments. Continue reading “County, city leaders review draft interlocal agreement for convention center capital improvement board, set next meeting for Feb. 10”

Vote on governing entity for convention center expansion project put off until Jan. 8 as more time needed to dot i’s in CIB ordinance

Two years and five days ago, Monroe County commissioners councilors voted 4–3 to enact a 1-percent food and beverage tax.

cropped 12-18-2019 commissioners thomas IMG_2974
From left: Monroe County commissioners Lee Jones, Julie Thomas, Penny Githens at their Dec. 18, 2019 meeting. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The convention center expansion, which the tax is supposed pay for, will need to wait a few more weeks to get a governance structure.

Monroe County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to put off until Jan. 8, 2020, a draft ordinance that would have exercised their power under a state statue to adopt an ordinance establishing a capital improvement board (CIB).

Chair of the board of commissioners, Julie Thomas, said the ordinance was “not quite ready for prime time.”

But it appears that the city of Bloomington and Monroe County have put the major differences behind them that have stalled the project since late May.

Formation of a CIB, which is now expected early next year, will answer the question of governance for the long-planned convention center expansion project.

The timing of holidays this year means that no meetings of the commissioners will take place over the next two weeks. That makes Jan. 8 the next possible regular meeting for the CIB ordinance enactment. Continue reading “Vote on governing entity for convention center expansion project put off until Jan. 8 as more time needed to dot i’s in CIB ordinance”

A capital improvement board for convention center governance as soon as Wednesday?

Based on discussion at a meeting of Bloomington and Monroe County officials last Thursday (Dec. 12), a capital improvement board could be established as soon as this Wednesday to provide governance for an expanded convention center.

Thursday morning’s meeting of the county council and the county commission was attended by deputy mayor, Mick Renneisen. Continue reading “A capital improvement board for convention center governance as soon as Wednesday?”