Bloomington Council approves $251.7 million budget, debate ensues about police funding

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Monday night, Bloomington City leaders set into motion the city’s spending for fiscal year 2022.

The council voted 8-1 to approve a $251.7 million budget; an increase of $21.4 million from the F.Y. 2021 budget.

City manager Tim Gleason said the city has a general fund of $109.1 million- $1.2 million less than last year’s budget. Gleason also said this upcoming year’s budget will feature $60.1 million dollars devoted to capital project improvements.

However, discussion among council members centered primarily on the increased funding for police officers. The now-approved budget devotes $21.9 million to police administration for the upcoming year.

For fiscal year 2021, the Bloomington Police Department is only expected to spend $20.8 million of the more than $22 million budgeted.

Ward 8 Councilman Jeff Crabill argued that the city was allotting too much to police, and made a motion to amend the budget and decrease the $21.9 million set aside for police in the budget.

Crabill also said there needed to be more input from the community.

“I think this amendment will allow us to have serious review [and] discussion of the police budget that the majority of council wanted to have as soon as possible after the 2022 budget was passed, so at that point, I think amendments to the police budget can be made if warranted after that review,” Crabill said.

However, Ward 6 Councilwoman Jenn Carillo was the only one supporting the motion and it was rejected.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Joni Painter said the community had a fair amount of time to voice their opinion and said councilman Crabill should have brought up his concerns sooner.

“You’ve had the better part of a year to address this situation and you have two big-budget books that line-by-line show what the money is doing and where it’s going. It has a nice little narrative if you don’t want to read the line-by-line budgets,” Painter said. “You haven’t done that and to make a motion at the last minute, quite frankly, I think is one of the most outstanding displays of laziness.”

Despite his motion to amend the budget failing, Jeff Crabill voted for the F.Y. 2022 budget to pass as presented.

Jenn Carrillo voted against the budget because of the increased funding to police, in what she said was “a commitment” to her constituents.

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