Bloomington’s December 2021 budget presentation cheerfully brags about increasing the city’s portion of your 2022 property tax levy “only” 2.75 %, a smaller increase than neighboring suburbs. Unmentioned is the fact that last July the city quietly bumped-up the “franchise fee” (a charge that each household, church, business or city building pays on electric and natural gas utility bills) almost 23%. The new fees took effect January 1, and the city plans to review them every two years.
The $3.75 monthly fee per household utility bill is now $4.60. It’s a yearly cost of $110.40 for those with two utilities. Fees are substantially higher for businesses, churches, and nonprofit organizations, ranging up to $141 monthly per utility, for a total of $3384 yearly.
The new fee rates will generate more than $6 Million / year for the city; the prior rate netted just under $5 Million.
When these city fees were first approved in 2016, as we wrote back then, the funds were designated for use on “pavement management projects” (PMP), especially street repavement overlays and non-street paths for walking, bicycle paths or park trails. Almost all of the funding goes to streets, with only 3-4 miles of trail maintenance yearly. In the future that will continue to be the case, although the city’s website says sidewalk replacements may be added to the mix.