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Ask The Mayor: Bloomington's Mark Kruzan

Mark Kruzan

In this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Indiana Newsdesk's Joe Hren visits Bloomington's Mark Kruzan at City Hall. The mayor talks about the progress of the Kirkwood developments and the food vendor ordinance as well as a look back at the past year.

Listen to their full conversation above. Here are some highlights:

Hren: Do you think the plan commission did the right thing in pushing the Kirkwood Hotel development proposal to February?

Kruzan: There are two entirely different aspects to that. First is the scope and impact it has on the historic nature on the churches and to me that is a legitimate plan commission issue, a community priority issue. On the 'handshake deal' for parking, that to me is less of a true government function for a plan commmission. It's unfair to hold a property owner accountable for what happens off of their property.

Hren: How much in touch are you with the planning commission during these meetings?

Kruzan: That's through staff, now I've learned a couple of times the hard way that the plan commission doesn't necessarily appreciate the mayor coming to interfere and of course I'm not allowed to contact them, more than a majority of them under public records law. Once I've appointed people to position, extremely few times have I called a board or commission member with direct input prior to vote. I feel like that's not the purpose of a public board or commission, those are citizen panels that you are asking people to use their best judgement once appointed.

Hren: Last time you announced you would not be running for another term as mayor, what do you want to get done before you leave?

Kruzan: What I want to see in 2015 is lay the foundation for the transition. To make sure the financial stability of the city is as healthy as it's ever been. Our reserves are extremely healthy right now, and I want to make sure to maintain those in 2015, but yet set the direction that the city is financially healthy. In terms of a specific, to find a funding mechanism and to set in motion plans for the switch-yard park development. That's a 69 acre parcel we've set aside for perpetuity for public use.

Hren: This is our last show of the year, let's take a look back - what was the good and bad of 2014?

Kruzan: The good continues to be the fiscal condition of the city. We've continued to make investments, and we continue to work on the certified tech park. I think we've really set the stage for expansion of downtown. The downside for 2014 have been the employee theft issues. That was unbelievably disappointing. In each instance, they were allegedly - what those people did is defined weaknesses in the way in which government in general, not just Bloomington, operates. Those people found exceptions within the system that they could exploit allegedly to their own benefit. Now we plugged those gaps, but now in the position of having to recoup monies that were taken from taxpayers.

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