Bloomington residents are being asked to respond before May 18 to a survey CLICK HERE and contact the city council members (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) to weigh-in on two major building and services closures that have been proposed: Creekside Community Center and Motor Vehicle Services.
Residents who would like to take the survey but don’t have internet access may call 952-563-8877, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
These closures were recommended by city staff at the May 4 city council meeting, however the council tabled the proposals to allow some time for community comment, and also community recommendations for other cost-saving strategies to address the expected budget shortfalls. Without the tax income from hotels and restaurants due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the city expects to need to cut between $7 -$17 million dollars of expenses in 2020, about 18% of the city’s budget.
Details on the city website make it clear that all low-cost congregate meals for Seniors would be cut completely, although some other Senior-services programs now based at Creekside Community Center might be continued in other city-owned buildings. Closing these services in particular seems counter-productive. As explained in this article, "The combination of nutrition, socialization, and connection to other resources and activities may help explain why participating in a congregate meal program leads to better health and a greater likelihood of staying in the community... also, older adults participating in congregate meal programs are less likely to be admitted to a hospital or nursing home."
However, when the city must cut 18% of its budget, we have to stack all of the suggestions against each other to determine which have the least merit (or the least beneficiaries) before we can advocate to take one off the table. The city has not yet listed anywhere close to $7 million worth of proposed cuts and seems to be seeking opinions without providing enough information.
This May 5 article from the Star Tribune provides more information from the May 4 Council meeting.
The city website includes some added info on the survey page and also in Mayor Busse’s video summary of the May 4 council meeting.
You may also attend the May 18 Council meeting via telephone and watch on video conference. The process for doing so is detailed on the city’s website city council page.