Bloomington city staff are creating a stimulus plan for hardest hit community members

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Over these next two weeks Bloomington city staff will iron out a proposed stimulus plan. It would put money in the pockets of those who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The city is hoping to use roughly $420,000 to get community members back on their feet and keeps businesses afloat.

During Tuesday night’s city council meeting elected officials discussed how they were going to spend the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds.

“It started with our executive order on March 17th,” said Grant Coordinator Jennifer Toney. “We immediately started meeting with our partners what our regional response would look like.”

Toney says they came up with an idea of dividing the funds into two pots. One would go to community members who have been affected by COVID-19. The other is for business owners who have been closed since mid-March.

“We conducted a survey and through that process we identified four main needs, shelter assistance, food security, medical and health care and child care,” said Toney.

Under the direct aid portion the city would dish out $1,000 per month, per household for three consecutive months. That money would go to directly to where you need it most, be it your landlord, the bank, or utility company.

“All of my elected officials had great concern for the impacts of these on residents,” said City Manager Tim Gleason. “They wanted to find out all of the possibilities to meet those un-met needs.”

City Manger Gleason says, what makes this plan unique is that the remaining $150,000 are going to businesses, because instead of only aiding community members, it’s investing in the community so that the city’s economy does not take a hit when people are getting back on their feet.

“Some communities might just apply the CDBG funds to individual residents,” said Gleason. “It was very important that some of those funds go toward struggling businesses. We are not going to recover from this anytime soon, but getting that money that’s putting them on the right pathway to get beyond all of this.”

Tuesday’s meeting was just a discussion, but city leaders will have a chance to make a final vote on the plan on June 8th.

Toney says depending on what the city council votes in favor of, she’s hoping to start sharing money on June 15th.

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