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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

UPDATE: 2024 Bloomington budget increases by nearly $19 million to address climate change, jobs and diversity

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The Bloomington City Council approved a $248 million budget for 2024 on Oct. 11 that will go toward the city workforce, increasing salaries and improving infrastructures  

The 2024 budget increased 7.6% from the 2023 budget of $229 million. The newly approved budget includes $131 million for the city and $98 million for utilities, transit and housing authority, according to the City of Bloomington press release.  

The budget includes an additional $19 million in the form of one -time appropriations. The funds came from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help the country recover from the economic effects of COVID-19. The appropriations also came from the former Community Revitalization and Enhancement District funds from districts that had expired but had money left over.  

What the budget includes 

The recently passed budget includes investments in the city workforce such as a five5 percent cost of living increase and a $500 recovery bonus for most non-union staff. This will extend benefits such as increases in pensions, health savings accounts, paid family leave, continuing-education tuition supports and health services. 

The budget also increases salaries for all sworn firefighters and probationary police officers. Bloomington will implement the new public safety headquarters in Showers West plus two new fire stations and a replacement station. 

Bloomington will use $19 million from one-time appropriations to address infrastructure such as sidewalks, street improvements focusing on bike and bus routes, traffic signal improvements, affordable housing, public health and jobs and sustainability initiatives. 

City council member Isabel Piedmont-Smith said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and his administration proposed the $249 million budget. 

“The mayor asked the department heads what programs they currently have and how much those and their staff cost,” Piedmont-Smith said.  

Departments included in the budget 

Human Resources  

City Clerk 

Legal Department 

Information & Technology Services  

City Council Office  

Office of the Controller 

Office of the Mayor 

Bloomington Transit 

City of Bloomington Utilities 

Fire Department  

Police Department 

Housing and Neighborhood Development Department 

Economic and Sustainable Development Department 

Community and Family Resources Department 

Parks and Recreation 

Planning and Transportation 

Engineering 

Public Works 

However, Piedmont-Smith said the city council does not have much control over the budget amount. 

“We cannot increase the budget,” Piedmont-Smith said. “Once the mayor proposes the budget, we can only decrease it, vote yes or vote no.”  

In the press release, Mayor John Hamilton said the 2024 budget focuses on addressing the climate emergency, investing in more and better jobs and constantly improving quality of life including diversity, equity inclusion and belonging. 

“We’ve brought forward a 2024 budget that maintains our 2023 momentum and also keeps our commitment to be an employer of choice for our people, assures public safety is strongly supported and makes a series of critical one -time investments to sustain our strong and positive recovery from the pandemic and its recession,” Hamilton said in the press release. 

Abbi Knipstine, legal research assistant at the office of the city council, said in an email that the budget process differs from state to state and often depends on the size of the city or town. 

Knipstine said the Accelerate Indiana Municipalities Budget Bulletin lists deadlines for when cities should have accomplished certain tasks and includes details of the budget process. 

By Dec. 31, 2023, class two and three cities must adopt salary ordinances for elected officials submitted to the Department of Local Government Finance. Dec. 31 is also the deadline for the city to make additional appropriation requests for the current year’s budget. According to Accelerate Indiana Municipalities, Bloomington is considered a class two city.  

CORRECTION: this story has been updated to reflect the 2024 city budget increased by $19 million.

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