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City Council To Vote On Final 2021 Budget Despite Disagreement Of Collaboration

Mayor Hamilton at his desk

(Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

The Bloomington City Council will cast its final vote to adopt the 2021 budget Wednesday night.

Two weeks ago during a preliminary budget overview, several council members expressed concerns about no changes being made by the mayor’s office based on council recommendations.

READ MORE: City Council Says Budget Process Lacks 'Collaboration' From Mayor's Office

“I think ideally, I would like to see it be a little more collaborative and a little more reflective of compromise between the mayor’s administration and councilmembers going forward,” councilmember Matt Flaherty said.

Flaherty said he has been a little frustrated to see what he thinks is lack of cooperation at times from John Hamilton’s administration.

“I just don’t feel like we really saw much of that this year,” Flaherty said. “I understand that Mayor Hamilton has a different view and I certainly respect that difference of opinion, but I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on how much collaboration there’s been.”

One of the major issues discussed in this budget process has been the addition of five unsworn officers to the Bloomington Police Department.

READ MORE: Bloomington Police Present Budget Proposal In Front Of Hundreds Virtually 

Flaherty and several other councilmembers have said they are unsure if BPD is the right place for those positions.

“I’m in favor of balance of moving crisis response and social workers outside of the police department, but reasonable minds can certainly differ on that,” Flaherty said. “I’ve been speaking with a lot of social workers and people working in this field and opinions vary. Some people are okay with it.”

Flaherty said with few changes being made to the mayor’s budget proposal over the last several weeks, structurally those positions will move into BPD next year.

“But the council and the administration both are in the process of developing either task forces or commissions to review and look at a lot of these issues going forward for future policy proposals in the context of policing and public safety,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty said he has not spoken much with other council members about tonight’s vote and it’s still unclear what will unfold.

If the budget fails to pass this evening, the city will have to accept the same funds approved in the 2020 budget for 2021.

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