Bloomington, Minnesota

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Bloomington is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota in Hennepin County. Located on the north bank of the Minnesota River above its confluence with the Mississippi River, Bloomington lies at the heart of the southern metro area, 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis. The city's population was 82,893 in the 2010 Census.[1]

Website evaluation

Last rated on Jan. 31, 2012

The good

  • Current and past budgets are posted.[2]
  • City Council meetings, minutes, and agendas are posted.[3]
  • City Councilmembers and Mayor are listed with individual contact information.[4]
  • The City Manager is listed with contact information.[5]
  • There is information permits[6], business licenses[7], and zoning[8]
  • Audits are posted.[9]
  • There is information on how to request public records consistent with the Minnesota Data Practices Act.[10]
  • Bids are posted.[11]

The bad

Government Structure

In 1960, Bloomington's residents ratified the City Charter, a formal structure for the City's operation and governance. Legislative power was place in the hands of the City Council, elected residents who establish local ordinances and policies. As ordinances were adopted, they were compiled in a continually-growing, official document called the Bloomington City Code. The Charter also called for the appointment by the Council of a City Manager, responsible for the administration of all City business. Over the years, the Council established advisory boards and commissions to provide valuable recommendations to guide Council decisions.[12]

City Council/Mayor

Adopted in 1960, the City Charter provides for a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council exercises the legislative power of the City of Bloomington and determines all City policies.[13] The Council consists of a mayor, who is elected at-large and presides over Council meetings, and six councilmembers, four of whom are elected from separate districts and two of whom are elected at-large. All terms are four years.[4]

Title Name Electorate Term expires
Mayor Gene Winstead At Large January 2012
Councilmember Amy Grady At Large January 2012
Councilmember Karen Nordstrom At Large January 2014
Councilmember Steve Peterson District I January 2014
Councilmember Thomas Hulting District II January 2014
Councilmember Tim Busse District III January 2012
Councilmember Vern Wilcox District IV January 2012

The Council appoints a professional City Manager, who is responsible to the Council for the administration of all City business. The Council also appoints citizens to various advisory boards and commissions.[13]

The City Council has adopted comprehensive policy statements on issues affecting Bloomington. These policies are used to guide the staff and the Council in decisions on various issues. These issues include:[14]

  • Gaming
  • Investment
  • Light Rail Transit
  • Stadium
  • Traffic calming policy document
  • Local street traffic calming assessment policy
  • Collector street striping reconfigurations policy
  • Transportation
  • Wetland vegetation treatment

City Manager

The City Council appoints a professional City Manager, who is responsible to the Council for the administration of all City business.[13] Mark Bernhardson was appointed City Manager by the Bloomington City Council in 1991. The City Manager:[5]

  • Enforces ordinances and resolutions.
  • Appoints City employees.
  • Spearheads strategic planning and budgeting.
  • Recommends action to the Council that will protect Bloomington citizens and provide efficient operation of government.

Budget

Total Revenues for 2011 are $125,643,751, with total expenditures of $133,495,188, we creates a budget shortfall of nearly $7.9 million which funded from reserves accumulated for the intended expenditures.[15]

The website provides a complete summary of all budget areas on their website.[15]

Taxes

The 2011 total levy is $44,552,753, which is essentially consistent with 2010's levy (2011 is a 0.12% decrease).

The website contains presentations and information on taxes levied by the city.[16]

Public Records

The Minnesota Data Practices Act establishes a comprehensive system for compiling and distributing government data gathered by the City of Bloomington. All government data collected and maintained by the City of Bloomington is considered public unless otherwise classified by statute, temporary classification, or federal law as private or confidential with respect to data on individuals, or as non-public or protected non-public concerning data not on individuals.[17]

The City website provides a simplified version of the Minnesota Data Practices Act and its corresponding rules. It describes the procedures for requesting access to government data gathered by the City of Bloomington and the rights of data subjects.[17]

Lobbying

Main article: Minnesota government sector lobbying

Bloomington has spent the following on government sector lobbying from 2005-2009. This includes both contracts with lobbyists and membership in government sector lobbying associations:

Year Amount
2009 $70,591
2008 $93,164
2007 $90,880
2006 $66,877
2005 $65,515

Data obtained from Minnesota State Auditor Lobbying Reports

External links


References