The Bloomington City Council has a full plate tonight: tax levies, multi-million dollar proposals and a look to the future of trash collection. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington could have lower property taxes after city council discusses the final tax levy tonight.
The council will vote whether to approve a proposed $400,000 levy cut, something City Manager David Hales calls a breath of fresh air for Bloomington residents.
"Meaning that if they adopt the cut, taxpayers on average would actually see a tax decrease," said Hales. "That decrease would be on top of -- or as part of -- an overall drop in assessed valuations of property."
If passed, homeowners would see a tax decrease of more than nine percent.
The decision leaves Hales looking to make up the difference in other ways.
"It will be a challenge," said Hales. "We are looking at a slight increase in general fund revenues in the upcoming budget year, but that's being offset by what we are beginning to see in the way of departmental requests."
Hales said those requests include addressing staff needs and equipment upgrades.
New garbage trucks
Upgrades include a vote to approve the purchase of new side-loading automated garbage trucks. The trucks will be part of service changes - similar to the recent recycling program - coming next year. Hales said the council will hear a request to approve the purchase of five new automated side-loading garbage trucks.
"As citizens have seen, we have rolled out the new containers for the city's recyclable waste program," said Hales. "We're hearing a lot of positive reports about people liking the carts since they don't have to lift them and can just wheel them out to the curb. Now, we're looking at the same idea for household waste."
Two of the trucks were already purchased in May and should be arriving in January. The full implementation will not occur until all seven trucks are available. Hales noted that will take six to nine months as the construction and maintenance checks are completed. The five additional disposal vehicles will cost $1.5 million.
Bloomington will likely see the changes to the city's garbage disposal program sometime in late 2013. Citizens will also receive new free 95-gallon containers, similar to the new recycling bins.
Paradigm BioAviation presentation
The decisions come on the same night the council will hear a proposal for a $100 million jet fuel conversion and processing plant by Paradigm BioAviation. The group will first present to a joint audience at 4 p.m. in Normal Town Council chambers in Uptown Station. The Bloomington City Council meets in regular session at 7 p.m.