It might be next year before all parties have signed an interlocal agreement between Bloomington and Monroe County—in connection with an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.
The effort to get final consensus on a collaboration between city and county leaders about a convention expansion dates back several years, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
But two weeks ago, both branches of Bloomington’s government approved the interlocal agreement, for the operation of the capital improvement board (CIB) and the convention and visitors commission (CVC)—in connection with the convention center expansion.
Bloomington mayor John Hamilton inked the interlocal on the afternoon of Nov. 15. The city council followed suit that evening, with an uncontroversial vote to approve the interlocal agreement.
The county council and the county board of commissioners were expected to consider and approve the agreement this week.
But the item appeared on Tuesday night’s county council meeting agenda only as a discussion item. And that’s where it remained for Tuesday. No vote was taken, even though councilors expressed a fair amount of solid support for the agreement.
At its regular meeting last Wednesday, Bloomington’s city council approved its side of the interlocal agreement that will control the working relationship among local government entities as they collaborate on an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.
The vote was 8–0. Kate Rosenbarger was absent.
Signing the agreement earlier in the day on Wednesday was Bloomington mayor John Hamilton. That wraps up the city of Bloomington’s side of the arrangement.
In 2022, the average cost of taking care of an animal at Bloomington’s animal shelter was about $269.
In the same year 1,380 animals that originated inside of Monroe County—but outside of Bloomington and the town of Ellettsville—were taken in at Bloomington’s shelter.
That translates into $371,220 that Monroe County government will pay the city of Bloomington to help cover the city shelter’s expenses in 2024.
The arrangement between Monroe County, the city of Bloomington, and the town of Ellettsville, is covered in an interlocal agreement that has used in for more than 15 years. That’s according to county attorney Jeff Cockerill, speaking at Wednesday’s regular meeting of the county commissioners.
A seven-member capital improvement board (CIB) has finally been created to provide the governance for a long-planned expansion of the Monroe Convention Center.
The unanimous vote by the three county commissioners to create the CIB came at their regular Wednesday meeting. Their vote was greeted with a rare round of applause in the Nat U. Hill room at the county courthouse.
Clapping enthusiastically in the audience for the vote were county councilors Geoff McKim, and Peter Iversen, as well as Eric Spoonmore, who is a former county councilor and now CEO of the Great Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
That appears to end the wrangling between the county commissioners and Bloomington mayor John Hamilton, over the governance of the expansion project, which has stalled the joint city-county effort since early March 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Hamilton’s preferred way of handling the tasks that the CIB will oversee would have been through a nonprofit. A CIB is a public body, which the county commissioners can create under state law.
The long-planned expansion of the Monroe Convention Center, which has been stalled since March 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, could take a small step forward next week.
At their regular meeting next Wednesday (July 5), Monroe County commissioners are likely to consider and approve an ordinance that will establish a seven-member capital improvement board (CIB) to provide the governance structure for the expansion. [2023-06-28 draft ordinance]
Expectations about next week’s action are based on the discussion at a Wednesday work session, which was held by commissioners following their regular meeting.
The previous night, at a county council work session, attended by commissioner Penny Githens, the council passed a motion made by councilor Geoff McKim, which supported the path that the commissioners are now taking.
Bloomington Transit will receive at least $3.8 million a year for the next five years from the city of Bloomington, under an interlocal agreement approved by BT’s five-member board at its final meeting of the year, on Dec. 20.
The agreement still needs to win approval from Bloomington’s city council.
The deal is expected to appear on a city council meeting agenda sometime in January, based on remarks from BT general manager John Connell at last week’s board meeting.
The big initiative that the money is supposed to help fund is an east-west crosstown express route.
Some other specific initiatives that the money is supposed to pay for include: implementation of Sunday service in the first quarter of 2023; enhancement of the paratransit microtransit services; increasing frequency of weekday service; and development of a ridership subsidy program.
Even if Bloomington and Monroe county government officials have recently been fighting like cats and dogs about topics like the convention center expansion, they have for several years settled into a pattern of uncontroversial cooperation for the sheltering of homeless animals.
At its last meeting of the year, on Dec. 21, Bloomington’s city council approved its side of an interlocal agreement with Monroe County government, and the town of Ellettsville, to help pay for operations at the city’s animal shelter.
The amount specified in the agreement that gets approved by the three governmental entities in any given year is based on the stats from the previous year—for the average cost per animal and the number of animals originating from each jurisdiction.
Last Wednesday, Bloomington’s director of animal care and control, Virgil Sauder, told the city council the average cost per animal for 2021 was $283.
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.
On Wednesday, Bloomington’s city council kicks off 2020 with its first meeting of the year, when it handles organizational matters like the election of new officers.
Some other non-organizational action items also appear on Wednesday’s agenda, among them a $350K interlocal agreement between Bloomington, Ellettsville and Monroe County on splitting costs for Bloomington’s animal shelter. It’s a routine agreement that’s been ratified for several years based on an agreed-upon formula that assigns costs on a per-animal basis.
Another routine interlocal agreement, under which Monroe County administers the building code for the city and the county, also appears on Wednesday’s agenda. It dates back to 1996 and has been extended at regular intervals for the last quarter century.