Mayor John Hamilton on Thursday called for millions of dollars in investment, decreases in funding for badged police officers and an increase in the local income tax to help fund various public health and social justice initiatives in the immediate future.

In a speech delivered via Facebook Live, Hamilton laid out a broad fiscal plan to aid city government in tackling areas of the local economy, racial justice, climate change and public health. His fiscal plan, named Recover Forward, is a multi-year, three-step process for investments in the very near and longer term future, utilizing a mix of reserve funds and local income tax increases.

“When our community is reeling, government should also help us recover,” Hamilton said. “To reduce human suffering. To avoid job losses. To preserve local institutions we depend upon that enrich our community. To restore and increase racial justice, economic equity and climate progress. That’s recovering forward. Leaning into the future. We have already begun this work.”

At a budget advance meeting for the Bloomington City Council in late April, Controller Jeff Underwood said the city was estimated to lose $2.5 million or more in revenue between April and July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At that time, Underwood said the city had enough money to fund the city’s general fund expenditures for four months were revenues to disappear. That’s just under $18 million. Having four months’ worth of operating funds available is the city’s goal, which is above the Government Finance Officers Association’s advice to municipalities to have at least two months’ worth.
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