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Community Forum Sparks Funding, Regulation Debates

Monroe County Jail (WFIU/WTIU News)

Bloomington and Monroe County leaders sparred Tuesday with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce over the right way to spur economic growth in the city.

During a community forum, Bloomington Chamber Government Relations Manager Larry Jacobs said he wished for less regulation, especially on how expansion can occur.

“You have a lot of restrictions on building and we’re running out of space to build in,” Jacobs says.

County leaders, such as Council President Geoff McKim, focused on a few budget line items which they say are eating up a greater chunk of the county’s funds, including paying for criminal justice. McKim says the county is facing challenges because it subsidizes criminal justice not through taxes, but through probation costs and other fees.

“Some of the funds are not necessarily sustainable,” McKim says. “Some of them have seen either revenues that have declined or else revenues that just haven’t grown with the costs of providing those services.”

McKim says the council will have to figure out how to fund certain positions within the criminal justice system outside of current fees.

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