Hot Air

Got A Quarter For A Cup Of Coffee?

Amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the installation (or, more accurately, re-installation) of downtown parking meters a year and a half ago, one hugely important factor goes undiscussed. That is, the city’s finances.

Oh sure, City Council-ites and outgoing Mayor Mark Kruzan might tell us how important it is to control the day-long parking habits of all those pampered IU students living downtown in mini-palaces their parents have gifted them. And others might point out that it’s now ever so much easier to find a parking space around Courthouse Square.

But the sine qua non of the meter decision was, pure and simple, dough. Bloomington’s raking it in on a daily basis at a dollar an hour per parking space. Lest you think Kruzan et al are sitting in their throne rooms showering themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars in quarters, keep in mind that the city’s bank account just might be tapped out.

Panhandler

Can You Spare Two Bits?

The Pencil hears a whisper that the city might be unable to pay Monroe County its share of the million-dollar-plus emergency dispatch center software that’s been in use since September. Way back in the summer of 2013, the city and the county signed an interlocal agreement to purchase a maintenance policy from Spillman Technologies, Inc. The company would keep the dispatchers’ computer programs purring for ten years in exchange for a cool 1.2 mill.

The county and the city share a high-tech emergency dispatch operation atop the new $9.5 million Bloomington Transportation Center.

A source with intimate knowledge of the deal says that the city cried poor when payment came due. Acc’d’g to this person, the city and county now are hashing out a payment plan; in other words, Bloomington wants to borrow the scratch from Monroe County — scratch the city supposedly was good for when the interlocal agreement was signed.

The Herald Times reported earlier this week that some in the county don’t even like the looks of the prepay deal in the first place. Monroe County Council member Marty Hawk, for one, told the H-T a million bucks was pretty much a scary sum to commit to w/o even knowing how Spillman will perform.

Meanwhile, my source added that a financial whiz from one of the city’s departments recently has done an audit of the city’s tax/expenditure activities and essentially came away from the chore shaking her/his head sadly.

Two things:

  1. Think of how much worse our town’s financial picture might be without all those quarters. 
  2. Do Darryl Neher and John Hamilton realize what in the hell they’re trying so hard to get themselves into?

Sunshine? I’ve Heard Of It!

You know it’s spring when the city’s Farmers Market moves back outdoors. Well, it’s spring, at least acc’d’g to the calendar. The 2015 al fresco Market debuts a week from today, Saturday, April 4th, outside City Hall on North Morton Street.

And just to remind you what a kick the FM is, here’s some video footage of the Rogers boys’ band, Busman’s Holiday, shot by camera ace Duane Busick:

By the way, that brightness you see in the video? It’s called sunshine. I’ve got a ten-spot to bet that we’ll see some of that stuff next Saturday.

For more from Duane Busick, go to his YouTube page.

Go Dark

Hey, h/t to Linda Oblack for reminding us: Let’s all do Earth Hour tonight.

Turn off your lights, your devices, your mixers, your TV, your Hitachi wand, and any other thing powered by electricity from 8:30-9:30pm. Just a reminder of how much goddamned non-renewable energy we soak up every minute of every day.

Darkness

This Is What Darkness Looks Like

Suggestions for what to do while the juice is off:

  • Put together a jigsaw puzzle
  • Do a crossword
  • Read a book
  • Listen as the birds retire for the night
  • Talk to each other
  • Have sex (w/o the wand, natch)
  • Contemplate
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Write a letter

Do something other than suck electrons out of a wall outlet.

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