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 firstname.lastname@example.org