Normal Council Addresses Metro Zone

Local News

The Town of Normal standing by its statement the Metro Zone agreement, which allows Bloomington and Normal to share some tax revenue from development on the cities’ west sides, has not been terminated.

Bloomington’s city council voted unilaterally to end the agreement last week. Town leaders said at the council meeting Monday, the contract could not end unless both communities agree to it. Council members urged Bloomington leaders to return to the negotiating table to find an agreement that works for both communities.

“Surely we have some disagreements. I think we have a strong case for disagreeing. And I understand the perspective of Bloomington for feeling the same way. But lets roll up our sleeves and get back to work,” said council member R.C. McBride.

Former Normal Mayor Paul Harmon addressed the situation, saying that when the agreement was put in place, it was his understanding that it would be permanent and could only be terminated by both municipalities.

Current Mayor Chris Koos told WMBD that it’s clear Bloomington wants out of the agreement and the two entities will probably have negotiate an end to the contract in way that satisfies both communities. He says the key to moving forward with a good relationship in the Twin Cities is to talk.

Several members of the Bloomington City Council were in the audience listening to Normal’s case for the agreement.

The Town of Normal also approved its Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget, Monday night, of one $107 million. The approved plan includes significant investments in infrastructure- mainly for sidewalks, water and sewer systems.

Council member Cheryl Gaines says the council knew what they were getting into when they went into debt.

“We planned. We didn’t go into debt and do a bond issue and think ‘Oh, maybe we can pay it back or not.’ We knew what that funding stream was going to be from the beginning,”  she says.

Normal’s budget may change if the termination of the Metro Zone stands.

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