The Bloomington Charter Commission met in special session on Thursday, June 9. The Commission had only one item on its agenda – to acknowledge the receipt of a petition signed by 2,500 Bloomington residents. The petition had more than enough signatures to put an amendment to the city charter on the ballot this fall.
The petition asked that the City’s Charter be amended to read: “Unless first approved by a majority of the voters in a state general election, the City shall not replace the competitive market in solid waste collection with a system in which solid waste services are provided by government-chosen collectors or in government-designated districts.”
Before the Charter Commission adjourned, the Commission voted unanimously to acknowledge the petition and forward it to the city for verification of signatures.
Bloomington officials have had two earlier opportunities to respond to the concerns of a significant segment of Bloomington residents. Both times, they have chosen to ignore those concerns by either finding flaws with the referendum petition or arguing that state statues preempted an initiative petition. They continued to publish assurances that Organized Collection would begin this fall.
The petitioners are simply saying that Bloomington residents should have the right to vote, up or down, the imposition of Organized Trash Collection. A government action that denies residents the right to choose their own vendors, to assemble on their own to negotiate with those vendors, and that constrains competition by dictating exclusive zones where each vendor can operate certainly cries out for a vote. It is to the credit of the Charter Commission that it rightly chose to recognize the significance of the petition and voted to pass it on to the city.