Since the budget process went from five weeknights over two weeks to four straight weeknights over one week, the city budget hearings have coincided with the week of the Monroe County Fair. Monday and Tuesday nights were four hours each, and we thought ourselves lucky to get away after that brief a period. Wednesday night’s meeting was not even two and a half hours — remarkable.
The budget hearings are a chance for council to comment on issues that otherwise might not be discussed in public because there is no pending legislation related to those issues. Each department head has to present their department’s budget separately.
There has been very little controversy over this year’s budget, and there was not much controversy over last year’s budget. Bloomington has been run by a Democratic mayor and council majority since 1972, so that’s perhaps not a surprise.