Rumblings among Bloomington city council members about voting against 2022 budget

Climate action, non-motorized transportation, and police pay are current sticking points between Bloomington’s city council and mayor John Hamilton, as the 2022 city budget process builds towards a mid-October council vote.

At their committee-of-the-whole meeting on Wednesday, Bloomington city council members reviewed each of the legislative items that collectively make up the annual budget.

Three appropriation ordinances cover different pieces of the city’s finances—the city’s basic budget, city of Bloomington utilities, and Bloomington Transit. The other three items are salary ordinances for different categories of employees—police and fire; other city employees; and elected officials.

The final 2022 budget, which reflected just a few adjustments since the departmental hearings in August, totals around $107 million.

Based on the straw polls they took on Wednesday, some councilmembers will be voting against the appropriation ordinance for the basic budget—unless they see some concessions from Bloomington mayor John Hamilton.

Those concessions would need to be made between now and Oct. 13—that’s when an adoption vote is scheduled. Continue reading “Rumblings among Bloomington city council members about voting against 2022 budget”

Budget notebook: Final 2022 Bloomington budget released, $1,000 “retention pay” for police in 2021

Screenshot of a proposed amendment to the 2021 fire and police salary ordinance, to be given a first reading at the Bloomington city council’s Sept. 29 meeting.

The final 2022 budget, on which the Bloomington city council will be expected to take action in mid-October, was released late Friday afternoon.

It’s possible to find among the documents in the meeting information packet for Sept. 29 an additional $5,000 in pay for police officers.

But that figure does not mean a $5,000 increase in base pay this year, as called for in a city council resolution approved on Sept. 8.

Instead, what Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s administration appears to be proposing is to give officers an extra $1,000 in “retention pay” per quarter, starting in 2021.

There’s five quarters from now through the end of 2022. So an extra $1,000 for each of those quarters would add up to $5,000. Continue reading “Budget notebook: Final 2022 Bloomington budget released, $1,000 “retention pay” for police in 2021″

Resolution supporting $5K more for Bloomington police gets OK from city council

A resolution that expresses support for revising the current collective bargaining agreement with the police union, to increase sworn officer pay by $5,000, was approved by Bloomington’s city council at a special meeting on Wednesday.

The vote was 7–1–1

Dissenting on the vote were Matt Flaherty, who voted against the resolution, and Kate Rosenbarger, who abstained from the vote after participating in deliberations.

Spurring the resolution, which was sponsored by Dave Rollo, Susan Sandberg, and Ron Smith, are Bloomington police department’s (BPD’s) challenges with recruitment and retention.

Two recent resignations have dropped the number of sworn officers to 91, out of 105 that are authorized. The proposed 2022 budget provides funding for 105 sworn officers.

BPD’s union, FOP Lodge 88, has provided certified salary amounts to the state’s police pension fund for comparisons that show Bloomington ranks 68th out of 153 departments in the state.

Sandberg said at Wednesday’s meeting, “We should have been doing more to retain officers. And our failure to keep pace with competitive salaries has brought us to this critical point where action is needed now.”

Around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, about an hour before the city council’s Wednesday sessions started, a joint statement on the resolution was issued by Bloomington mayor John Hamilton and police chief Mike Diekhoff. The statement essentially opposed the resolution. Continue reading “Resolution supporting $5K more for Bloomington police gets OK from city council”