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Mayor’s memo: Taking stock of last year

By Mayor Tim Busse 

We’re approaching the one-year mark since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home, wearing masks, socially distancing—it may come as a surprise that it’s been almost 12 months since the way we live our lives changed seemingly overnight. Nothing about 2020 was normal, certainly worldwide, but specifically here in Bloomington. The City operated under an emergency declaration for most of the year. Our public buildings were locked. Community events were cancelled. Students were learning from home. We declared curfews in the city of Bloomington. If that’s happened before, I haven’t found anyone who remembers it. It was an extraordinary year and it has been a challenge. 

The past 12 months have been very difficult. Hundreds of thousands of Americans and thousands of Minnesotans were lost to COVID-19. We’ve lost far too many businesses. Many people have lost jobs and livelihoods. People have lost their homes, and many have lost a sense of security, safety and control. Some people just feel lost. 

It was a hard year. Even with the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines beginning to be distributed, it has felt like a dark winter in many ways. Like everyone, I hope and pray that 2021 is better. I really do believe that regardless of what is going on around us, a better 2021 starts with me and you. It starts with all of us. The two best ways to jumpstart a better 2021 are with a sense of gratitude and by looking at all we managed to accomplish this past year despite everything. 

So first of all, thank you. Thanks to everyone who played a part, large or small, in helping us all get through the last year. Thanks to our doctors, nurses and personal care attendants. Thanks to our essential workers and nonprofit community partners. Thanks to farmers, truckers and grocery store workers. Thanks to our transit workers. Thanks to our custodians. Thanks to our teachers, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. 

Thanks to Bloomington City staff. You’ve done remarkable work this year under incredibly difficult circumstances. Now I think they did an amazing job, but you might accuse me of being a bit biased. Well, 86% of respondents in the National Community Survey™ said that overall customer service by Bloomington employees was excellent or good. Whether they were administering small business loans, providing essential public health services or administering an election with 85% voter turnout—all throughout a global pandemic—City staff made a difference for residents, visitors and businesses in our community.

And thanks to you, the residents of Bloomington. Thanks for all you’ve done over the past 12 months to make this community a better place, spread joy where you can and support each other. None of it goes unnoticed.