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City council approves funds for police, convention center



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Stephen Volan, Bloomington city council parliamentarian, speaks during a city council meeting Dec. 4 in the Showers Building. The council approved two ordinances unanimously Wednesday night. Joy Burton

The Bloomington City Council approved funding for the Bloomington Police Department and the Monroe Convention Center expansion project Wednesday after frequently discussing funding at past meetings. 

The first ordinance included various transfers of funds from the Rental Inspection Program and the Parking Meter Fund Expenditures, including funds appropriated to the police department. Deputy controller Jeff McMillian said the transfers have a net zero effect on general fund.

“I’m pleased it’s going to the police department,” council member Dorothy Granger said.

The ordinance passed unanimously. 

The following ordinance appropriated funds from the Food and Beverage Tax to fund the Monroe Convention Center expansion project, which is a joint project with the county. 

The city’s corporation counsel Philippa Guthrie said these funds primarily cover expenditures related to architecture fees and design work for phase two of the project. 

These fees amount to $5.9 million, while an additional $350,000 was spent on architecture fees during the first phase. Guthrie described it as a “retroactive request.” 

Many members of the county government were there to offer support for the ordinance.

“We look forward to continuing our great collaborative effort to keep this project rolling,” Monroe County commissioner Julie Thomas said. 

The council also discussed the importance of the building being environmentally sustainable.

“I am in full support of doing anything we can to make it as environmentally sustainable as possible,” Thomas said. “It says a lot about the community, and you have our full support in that.”

Many council members expressed concerns about adding another parking garage for the center, as the city is currently building a $18.5 million parking garage on Fourth Street

“I’m not completely ruling it out,” council member Steve Volan said. “There’s no need to travel less. We just need to travel more efficiently.”

He proposed having convention center buses that go around downtown and to popular hotels to pick up people who will be attending events there. 

The ordinance passed unanimously, sending the long-developed convention center expansion project on its way. 

The council will meet Thursday to continue discussion surrounding the amendments in the Unified Development Ordinance. 

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