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Bloomington Adds Two Taxes in Budget, Eyes Third

"The clock is ticking, so I have to be as responsible and surgical about this as possible," said Tari Renner, mayor of Bloomington.
BLOOMINGTON - "The clock is ticking, so I have to be as responsible and surgical about this as possible,” said Mayor Tari Renner.

While Bloomington council members passed a budget for 2015, Renner says he couldn't sign off on it because it dipped into reserve funds.

"Even if people don't like my proposals, the numbers are good, and they add up and when the tire hits the pavement, it's going to be a workable budget. That's what we have to have,” said Renner.

Renner says he would sign off on a budget that includes a higher utility tax to keep the city in line with others, and help fund pensions. That is coupled with the two other new taxes council approved Monday. Renner says at this point, all options to fund those pensions are potentially still in play.

One of those passed Monday was a 4 percent amusement tax. That covers everything from sporting events to bowling.

"I think there'll be a few people who probably won't go, especially the first year,” said long-time resident Bob Stinde. “They're going to say, ‘well, heck with it. If they do that, we're not going to go’."

At Pheasant Lanes, costs will ideally stay the same. They'll eat that tax themselves, at least at first. That means between 10 and 20 cents per game would go to the city.

"In the big scheme of the things, that's a lot of money that wouldn't be in house,” said manager Anthony Nelson.

The other tax, on motor fuel to repair the roadways, has council members leery of the future as well.

"I will guarantee you that you will see an exodus, constant exodus and they will not only buy gas over there, they'll buy everything over there,” said Ald. Judy Stearns.

"Price of living's going up and everybody's having a hard time, but they've got to do, what they've got to do I guess,” said resident Christopher Carlsen.

Council will need a super majority, or two-thirds of council to override Renner's veto. The fiscal year ends on April 30.

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