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Bloomington Mayor Kruzan Uncertain on Future of City Raises

Bloomington’s Mayor says when the city council reconvenes to pass the next city budget, it will likely look different than it did when they recommended its passage in July.

Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan would not say a million-dollar decline in income tax revenue necessarily nixes the raises he had proposed for city employees, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility, either.

“This probably will be read between the lines pretty accurately: Everything’s back on the table,” Kruzan said. “It would be difficult to afford a lot of the things we thought we could afford.”

Kruzan had included 1.5% raises for all city employees not covered by union collective bargaining deals in his initial budget. But despite approval from the city council, the mayor now characterizes talks about pay hikes as preliminary.

“We haven’t communicated to employees yet and we’re just now starting to talk with city council members,” he said.  “But it’s clear when you’ve taken a $1.3 million reduction in a budget that was balanced near the dollar that you can’t make ends meet by increasing spending anywhere.”

Kruzan says economic watchers whom the city has contacted estimate this year’s 15% drop in County Option Income Tax, or COIT, funding will persist – or get worse -- for at least another year.  The city council is slated to hold budget hearings on Sept. 1, with final passage of the ordinance scheduled for Sept. 15.

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