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Page last updated on March 17, 2022 at 12:28 pm

Hi, this is Mayor John Hamilton. I want to talk to you a moment about the city's needs and new revenue. The issue of adequate revenue to meet our city's needs has been on the agenda since 2020. New federal money has helped us get through the pandemic and to recover, but that money won't last, while our needs will. We have just shared a two-part proposal with the city council, first to increase the local income tax rate, sometimes called a LIT, and second to raise two $5 million bonds on a five-year cycle.

As your mayor, I am responsible for assuring that we have high-quality essential services and are investing appropriately in our future, for each other, and for the next generations. Raising revenue always demands a careful review. We face urgent and fundamental needs ahead, from public safety to housing and climate preparedness to other essential city services. And additional revenue from state or federal sources will not meet our needs. Nor can cost-cutting, which we will continue aggressively, let us meet those needs.

It would take drastic and devastating personnel cuts or service reductions in very basic services. And the fact is, Bloomington is currently a very low-tax city. And we have the capacity for well-aimed revenue increases that will make Bloomingtonians more successful, prosperous, sustainable, and safe. Now, these are not easy times. We're still recovering from the pandemic, and climate change still looms. We see inflation and gas prices, indeed the abhorrent war in Ukraine that shocks our senses. But coming out of the pandemic, we are at a pivotal moment. How will we go forward together?

I believe we can meet this moment and go forward as a community into a very bright future. I have offered the city council proposals that I believe responsibly and proactively invest in fundamental progress consistent with our values and within our capacities. A new web page will soon launch on the city website to provide more information about the proposal. It has details, a copy of materials I've shared with the council, an FAQ, and opportunities for you to provide feedback directly via public poll and other methods.

Over the next few weeks, our administration will work with the city council and other stakeholders, including you, to refine the proposal with a formal presentation to the city council scheduled for April 6th. Ultimately, it is up to the city council and other elected officials in the community to weigh options for revenue and vote on them. I hope you will review the proposal with an eye toward our future.

Bloomington has long been a special place to live, work, and play. We strive to be a leader in the Midwest and across the country in livability, inclusion, public safety, transit options, arts and culture, natural amenities, and more. New revenue is needed to meet our goals and to live our values. The recent cruel pandemic taught us how to come together and focus on doing what's needed for our community. That's what this is about—making a better future for us and the next generations. 

I encourage you to visit the city website and provide feedback as you review details and options. Thank you for all you do for Bloomington.