Former NAPA building gets Comcast internet connection as in-person early voting looms

An Xfinity service truck heads north on Walnut at 3rd Street on Feb. 2, 2022 after exiting from the former NAPA parking lot, which is out of the frame to the right. The downtown transit center is visible in the left of the photo.

Last Thursday (Jan. 27), Monroe County’s election board voted to make the former NAPA building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets the location of early in-person voting for 2022 elections.

On Wednesday morning, the three-member board of county commissioners voted to approve a contract with Comcast for the needed internet connectivity, to make it possible to run elections out of the currently vacant building.

According to the background information in the meeting information packet, the initial fee is $119.95 with a monthly recurring fee of $190 for 1G/35 Mbps service. Continue reading “Former NAPA building gets Comcast internet connection as in-person early voting looms”

No salary change for Monroe County commissioners, as added increase fails on 0–5–1 vote by council

On Tuesday night, Monroe county councilors stood by the compensation for the three county commissioners that they had already approved on the last day of November as a part of the 2022 salary ordinance.

The already-adopted salary ordinance for 2022 specifies $48,886 for each of the three commissioners, which is $2,886 more than the amount they were paid in 2021.

Getting support from none of the six councilors present on Tuesday was a request from commissioners to increase their pay to $67,158, to match the compensation for some other elected county officials: assessor, recorder, and treasurer.

Continue reading “No salary change for Monroe County commissioners, as added increase fails on 0–5–1 vote by council”

Monroe County commissioners could get higher pay, but maybe not the $67,158 they think is right

If Monroe County councilors approve some kind of increase to county commissioner compensation before the end of the year, it might not be as much as the commissioners have requested.

That’s the basic picture after about an hour of discussion at the county council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

The already-adopted salary ordinance for 2022 specifies $48,886 for each of the three commissioners, which is $2,886 more than the amount they were paid in 2021.

The commissioners have requested that the 2022 salary ordinance be amended so that their compensation is increased to $67,158, to match the compensation for some other elected county officials: assessor, recorder, and treasurer.

The increase would also bring Monroe County commissioner compensation in line with that of some other comparable counties in the state, which average $64,463 for commissioner pay.

At a work session next week, the Monroe County council will take a vote on the increase, possibly amended to reflect a lower amount than the figure that’s been requested.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councilor Geoff McKim told his county council colleagues that he thinks commissioners are underpaid.

But McKim does not think the right level for commissioner compensation is the full amount they have requested. So at next week’s work session, he’ll be proposing an amendment to the amount. But on Tuesday he was not sure what the exact dollar figure in his amendment would be.

Among the other county councilors on Tuesday, there did not seem to be any discernible support for an increase exactly along the lines that the commissioners are requesting.

A half dozen people spoke during public commentary at Tuesday’s meeting, all in support of increasing the compensation for commissioners, possibly even to a level higher than they have requested.

Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners could get higher pay, but maybe not the $67,158 they think is right”

Monroe County commissioners ask to be paid $18K more, on par with other electeds: $67,158

On the agenda for the Tuesday, Dec. 14 meeting of the Monroe County council is a request from the three county commissioners to increase their 2022 salary from the amount approved two weeks earlier.

This is a request to be considered by Monroe County councilors at their Dec. 14 meeting.

The requested adjustment to the already-approved 2022 salary ordinance would increase commissioner pay from $48,886 to $67,158. That’s about 37 percent more.

If the county council grants the request next Tuesday, that would make for about an 87 percent increase for county commissioner compensation, over the two years from 2020 to 2022.

Commissioners received a $10,000 increase from 2020 to 2021, which pushed their annual compensation from $36,000 to $46,000. Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners ask to be paid $18K more, on par with other electeds: $67,158”

Third option floated for possible redrawing of Monroe County council boundaries

A third possibility for new county council district boundaries is now getting consideration from the four-person committee that has been appointed to make recommendations on new precinct and district boundaries for Monroe County.

It’s simple to describe the third county council district option, which was floated at Monday’s committee meeting: Transfer Clear Creek Township from District 3 to District 1.

That’s the proposal labeled Option C in the graphics accompanying this article.

At its Thursday meeting last week, the committee batted around two other possibilities for balancing out the populations of the four county council districts. The populations are a bit out of kilter after the 2020 census. Continue reading “Third option floated for possible redrawing of Monroe County council boundaries”

Part of Monroe County’s $3.1 million bond issuance: Design for sidewalk near new library branch

A pedestrian connection between the intersection of Country Club Drive and Rogers Street, heading southward towards the new library branch, is part of the list of capital projects to be funded with a $3.1-million bond issuance from Monroe County.

The bond issuance was given approval by the Monroe County council at its Tuesday meeting. The county commissioners had signed off on the bonds six weeks earlier, on Sept. 1.

The annual issuance of bonds, to pay for a collection of capital projects, is an approach that the county government has taken for the last few years.

Besides $250,000 for the Rogers corridor sidewalk project, which will start with design work, this year’s list of bond projects includes: Phase 2 health building renovation; virtual cluster upgrade; non-law-enforcement vehicles; solar infrastructure; a vacuum truck; a mini excavator; a grader; a low boy; trail connections; and park renovations. Continue reading “Part of Monroe County’s $3.1 million bond issuance: Design for sidewalk near new library branch”

4-member advisory committee appointed to help with Monroe County redistricting

At its Wednesday meeting, the three-member Monroe County board of commissioners appointed four residents to give advice on the upcoming task of redrawing boundaries for precincts, as well as for county council and county commissioner districts.

The redistricting work on the local level has the same impetus as the state level process—the need to incorporate the results of the 2020 decennial census into voter districts for different elected offices.

The four appointees to the precinct and district boundary advisory committee (PDBAC) are: Regina Moore, Ed Robertson, Joyce Poling, and Hal Turner.

Elected to the city of Bloomington clerkship as a Democrat, Moore served in that role from 2000 to 2015.

Robertson is deputy chair of headquarters for the Monroe County Democratic Party.

Poling is assistant to the chancellor for community engagement at Ivy Tech Community College. Poling served as a Republican through 2007 on the Monroe County board of commissioners, which wrapped up a couple of decades of service in county government.

Hal Turner is currently the Republican appointee to the county election board.

The PDBAC will have to complete its work on a compressed timeline compared to previous years, because of the ripple effect of the late 2020 census. The late timing for release of 2020 census numbers led to a late start for state legislators on their work to redraw state-level boundaries. Continue reading “4-member advisory committee appointed to help with Monroe County redistricting”

Monroe County OKs animal care deal with Bloomington; shelter numbers for 2020 way down

In 2022, non-Bloomington residents will most likely be able to surrender their animals to Bloomington’s animal shelters without paying a fee, the way they have for several years.

At their regular Wednesday morning meeting, Monroe County commissioners approved their side of an interlocal agreement that the county has maintained for several years with Bloomington and Ellettsville to cover Bloomington’s cost for animals surrendered by non-city county residents and animal control officers.

On the county’s side, the interlocal agreement still needs to be approved by the county council. It will also need to be approved by the Bloomington city council.

Under the terms of this year’s agreement, the amount paid to Bloomington by Monroe County will be $342,912. Ellettsville will pay $18,612. That’s a total of $361,524.

The total is based on 1,282 animals that were surrendered to the shelter in 2020 by Monroe County or Ellettsville, at a net cost of $282 per animal. Continue reading “Monroe County OKs animal care deal with Bloomington; shelter numbers for 2020 way down”

Monroe County commissioners deny rezone for 125 single-family houses: “No matter what we do, people are going to be angry with us.”

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.

Part of the pitch from developers Donnie Adkins and Kevin Schmidt was that the denser development would allow for the houses to be priced around $300,000 to $400,000. That’s lower than the $700,000 or more that houses built under current zoning would likely cost, they said. The site is currently largely open, the site of the former Robertson farm. Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners deny rezone for 125 single-family houses: “No matter what we do, people are going to be angry with us.””

Appeal denied: Mask violation citation of Seven Oaks Classical School upheld by county commissioners, fine waived

A citation given to Seven Oaks Classical School for a violation of the county’s Aug. 5 mask mandate was upheld on Thursday afternoon by a unanimous vote of the three Monroe County commissioners.

Although commissioners denied the school’s appeal, they waived the $250 fine.

The citation was appealed by Seven Oaks on Aug. 25.

A formal hearing on the appeal was held earlier this week, on Monday.

The Aug. 5 mask mandate says that when community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is high in Monroe County, as determined by state metrics, everyone “must wear a face shield, face covering, or mask…over their nose and mouth when in an indoor public place and shall at all times, follow current CDC guidelines in every situation.”

Schools get a specific mention in the Aug. 5 order: “For academic and extracurricular activities, all K-12 schools in Monroe county shall follow the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH).” Continue reading “Appeal denied: Mask violation citation of Seven Oaks Classical School upheld by county commissioners, fine waived”