Each year, when the annual external audit is complete and the City has a good picture of where the previous year’s financials have settled, staff total up the positive budget variances from the general fund. This is money that the City Council can reallocate to the City’s stragegic priorities fund. This fund helps ensure resources are available for special projects, initiatives or activities on a one-time basis or as a transitional source of funding.
The city manager works with the executive leadership team to identify projects that support the City Council’s strategic initiatives, address longstanding maintenance issues or otherwise support City service delivery.
The dollar amount available to transfer to the strategic priority fund varies from year to year. In 2021, the positive budget variances totaled about $3.5 million. The Council approved the allocation of $3.49 million to projects in the areas of Police, Parks and Recreation and Public Works. Of the $3.49 million allocated, $540,000 will go to the Police Department for improvements such as a jail remodel. Public Works will receive $1.25 million to fund a natural resource project, the purchase of 10 electric F-150 pickup trucks and other items. And $1.7 million will go to Parks and Recreation to provide a jump start to a number of priorities identified in the City’s Park System Master Plan. These projects include:
- A new pool filter and ultraviolet disinfection for the Bloomington Family Aquatic Center.
- New playground equipment at Smith Park.
- Basketball court upgrades at Cedarcrest, Dred Scott, Smith and Valley View parks.
- New bag toss games at Bush Lake, Moir, Normandale Lake and Valley View parks.
- Redecking 10 bridges at Moir/Central, Hyland and Normandale Lake parks.
- New gazebo roofs at Normandale Lake Park.
You’ll see progress on many of these projects this year. The pool filter and new Smith Park playground will be completed in 2023. The rest of the projects will be completed in 2022. For more information about the strategic priorities fund and identified projects, visit blm.mn/spf202207.