Bloomington asphalt and concrete fund not yet set in stone

bloomington council
Bloomington City Council unanimously adopted a budget with a big boost in infrastructure spending. Aldermen were not as unified how the city will spend millions of gas tax dollars. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington aldermen spent most of their time Monday night discussing whether a proposed fund to pay for asphalt and concrete should include more than just asphalt and concrete.

City staffers propose to set up the fund as another layer of transparency to show how the government is spending local gas tax revenue to fix streets and sidewalks.

However, the council delayed action for two weeks on Alderman Kimberly Bray’s idea to include language that gas tax dollars should be spent exclusively on asphalt and concrete projects, and not for more costly brick street repairs.

Alderman Joni Painter sided with Bray that asphalt and concrete work is a higher priority.

“We’ve got such a severe problem with the asphalt and concrete that we have right now, and we have limited funds to spend on that,” said Painter.

“I think we need to move ahead with this and figure out how we’re going to pay for the brick streets going forward,” Painter added.

Alderman Amelia Buragas said the council should not limit spending options.

“We have streets in the city that desperately need maintenance. They desperately need work,” said Buragas.

“To remove them from a funding source, I think is saying to those residents that we’re not talking your needs seriously because your needs are different than some other people’s needs.”

The council’s lengthy discussion followed a unanimous vote adopting the $227.5 million budget, which is up 8.3 percent from the previous fiscal year, due to increased infrastructure spending.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


WJBC Voices: Jay Bee, CEO

Much of the legal analysis in law school is taught via the hypothetical question, wherein the professor poses a set of facts embodying the issue studied, and asks students to predict the outcome, based on those facts. 

WJBC Voices: Understanding TIF investments

As we near another local election, understanding what a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district is and its role in economic development seems unclear to many I talk to.

WJBC Voices: JB the CK

Based on the budget, Pritzker ought to change his initials from J.B. (whatever they stand for) to C.K. (Can Kicker).