Pretrial public defender money cut: Indiana awards half the grant amount Monroe County was expecting

At its Tuesday meeting, the Monroe County council dealt with the news that the state grant that has historically funded the pretrial public defender program had been cut in half for the coming year.

Screenshot of the Jan. 11, 2022 Monroe County council meeting, which was conduced by Zoom videoconference.

Instead of the $183,390 that had been requested, the county received $92,038.

That leaves the county $84,507 short for a public defender and $7,000 short for the benefits that go with a pretrial probation officer position.

According to the memo attached to Tuesday’s meeting agenda item, the funding covers a public defender who appears at initial hearings so that a “meaningful first appearance addressing bail may be held.”

A memo from staff who work in the pretrial program states that Monroe County’s pretrial services grant for 2022 was cut to half the 2021 grant level, with no advance notice. The news came on Dec. 30, according to the memo, two days before the grant is scheduled to begin.

The county council’s action on Tuesday night was to appropriate the grant funding that was awarded.

As council president Kate Wiltz put it, “Let’s appropriate what we have and get thinking on how we can keep this program going for the future.”

At the start of the meeting, Wiltz was chosen as the county council’s president for the coming year. Trent Deckard was chosen as vice president. Continue reading “Pretrial public defender money cut: Indiana awards half the grant amount Monroe County was expecting”

Bloomington: $550K in COVID-19 small business relief loans awarded so far using food and beverage tax proceeds, about $250K already distributed

In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, the city of Bloomington announced that a total of $550,700 has now been approved in loans to 22 businesses that applied for COVID-19 relief funds.

The city currently has a pool of $2.5 million to draw on for loans to local businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That pool was created through a series of actions by Bloomington’s city council, the food and beverage tax advisory commission and the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association over the last couple of weeks. Continue reading “Bloomington: $550K in COVID-19 small business relief loans awarded so far using food and beverage tax proceeds, about $250K already distributed”