Data notebook: Bloomington’s electric scooter ridership at 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels

Measured by scooter rides, life in Bloomington has not yet returned to the pre-pandemic norms.

Numbers available through the city’s B Clear platform show that for August and September of 2021, a total of 106,083 rides were taken on a shared electric scooter, which is 69 percent of the 154,486 rides taken during the same period in 2019. Continue reading “Data notebook: Bloomington’s electric scooter ridership at 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels”

Bloomington 2022 budget revenues: Property tax levy up, local income tax down

Last Friday, Bloomington mayor John Hamilton released his proposed 2022 budget.

Compared to the 2021 budget, the combination of local income tax distributions and the general fund property tax levy nets out to about zero change for 2022 revenues.

There’s an increase in the general fund property tax levy (based on a 4.3-percent growth quotient)—from $24.43 million to $25.48 million, or an increase of $1.05 million.

But Bloomington’s certified share of local income taxes is expected to drop 7.8 percent, from $13.65 million in 2021 to $12.56 million in 2022, for a difference of $1.09 million.

So the $1.05 million gain in property tax levy is erased by the $1.09 million loss in local income tax revenues.

Still, the overall proposed budget for the city of Bloomington in 2022—not including Bloomington Transit, Bloomington Utilities, and the Bloomington Housing Authority—will increase by ​​about $11.5 million compared to 2021, making the total for 2022 about $106.6 million.

The revenue to cover the $11.5-million increase is coming from the two federal pandemic relief packages—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

According to Bloomington’s 2022 proposed budget document, the $106.6 million budget will tap  Bloomington’s CARES Act funding for $1 million and the ARPA for $9.735 million.

Unlike the 2021 budget, which relied on a $2-million transfer from the rainy day fund, the 2022 budget does  not make any transfers out of the rainy day fund.

Continue reading “Bloomington 2022 budget revenues: Property tax levy up, local income tax down”

2022 Bloomington budget released same day as encampment clearance, includes 6 new on-the-ground, non-sworn public safety positions

Early in the day on Friday, an encampment of people experiencing homelessness under the B-Line bridge at Grimes Lane was cleared by Bloomington city workers.

That was expected, based on Tuesday’s posting of notices near the encampment, with a Friday deadline for vacating.

Later on Friday, Bloomington mayor John Hamilton briefed the press on the proposed 2022 budget that his administration had earlier released to city councilmembers.

The city council will receive presentations from department heads over the course of four meetings next week.  The final budget will be presented to the council in September, with a final vote in October.

Hamilton was asked during the press briefing if there was anything in his 2022 budget to increase resources to help people as soon as they resorted to camping under a bridge, to avoid repeating the pattern of larger encampments followed eventually by a clearance.

Hamilton replied by citing the millions of dollars in the budget for trying to help those who are facing homelessness, or challenges to success in a workplace or educational environment.

Hamilton added, “There’s a lot of investment that we are proposing to help support the housing insecurity task force.” The task force is led by United Way of Monroe County, Community Foundation of Monroe County and the South Central Housing Network, and released a report in July that outlines a plan to make homelessness “rare, brief and non-repeating.” Continue reading “2022 Bloomington budget released same day as encampment clearance, includes 6 new on-the-ground, non-sworn public safety positions”