Community Budget Advisory Committee
In early 2020, it became apparent the City of Bloomington would face a multi-million dollar budget shortfall as a result of COVID-19. In an effort to ensure budget discussions reflected community preferences, the City Council appointed a Community Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) in May 2020.
In September 2020, the committee asked what services matter most to residents. In October, the committee presented budget reduction recommendations to the community for comment. The Committee made their final presentation to the City Council on November 9, 2020 and concluded with a brief wrap-up meeting following the presentation.
Documents presented to the City Council on November 9, 2020:
Staff presentations to City Council on the 2021 Tax Levy and Budget:
- City Manager Recommendation for 2021 General Fund Budget
- Nov. 30 City Council Study Meeting: 2021 Budget and Tax Levy Presentation
- Dec. 7 City Council Public Hearing: 2021 Budget and Tax Levy Presentation
The Committee Charter describes the charge of the committee and their commitment to the work. The final document was adopted at the June 24, 2020 meeting.
Community listening sessions
Virtual listening sessions were held in September and October 2020 to provide residents and stakeholders the opportunity to share input into the City's budget process and the proposed budget scenarios.
- Presentation slides from the September 17 and 19 Community Listening Sessions
- Presentation slides from the October 15 and 17 Community Listening Sessions
- October 15 and 17 listening session notes
- Zoom recording from October 15 listening session
- Zoom recording from October 17 listening session
Budget reduction options
In the fall of 2020, the City Council considered three different budget scenarios with various tax levy increases and service reductions developed by the Community Budget Advisory Committee. Below are the initial list of budget reduction options and ranking from the committee.
- Budget reduction analysis
- Interpreting the budget reduction analysis spreadsheet
- Budget reduction worksheets
- Budget reduction options
- October 12 City Council Presentation (Updated October 15)
Meeting agendas and webcasts
Meeting agendas and documents are available at blm.mn/meetings.
Webcasts of the Bloomington Community Budget Advisory Committee Meetings are available on the City's YouTube page.
- April 20, 2020 Presentation - COVID-19 Economic Impact - 2020 Budget Reduction Options
- April 27, 2020 Study Session - 2020 Budget & 2021 Budget
- June 10, 2020 CBAC-Committee Charter
- June 10, 2020 CBAC-Budget 101
- June 17, 2020 CBAC-Budget 101 Continued
- June 17, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- June 24, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- June 24, 2020 CBAC-Assessing and Property Values
- June 24, 2020 CBAC-Racial Equity Budget Presentation
- July 8, 2020 Report to City Council
- July 8, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- July 8, 2020 CBAC-Community Engagement Overview
- July 15, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- July 15, 2020 CBAC-Revenue Analysis
- July 15, 2020 CBAC-Property Tax Levy-Categories and Impacts
- July 22, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- July 22, 2020 CBAC-Internal Service Funds
- August 05, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- August 05, 2020 Fire Department
- August 05, 2020 Police Department
- August 12, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- August 12, 2020 CBAC-Revenues and Preliminary Tax Levy Discussion
- August 12, 2020 CBAC-Engagement Plan Status Update
- August 19, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- August 19, 2020 CBAC-Parks and Recreation Department
- August 19, 2020 CBAC-Community Development Department
- August 19, 2020 CBAC-Community Services Department
- August 26, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- August 26, 2020 CBAC-Public Works Department
- September 02, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- September 02, 2020 CBAC-Legal Dept Background Memo
- September 02, 2020 CBAC-Legal Department
- September 02, 2020 CBAC-Administration
- September 02, 2020 CBAC-Finance Department
- September 16, 2020 CBAC-Information and Updates
- September 16, 2020 CBAC-Budget Reductions
- September 16, 2020 Community and Committee Budget Reduction Ideas
- September 16, 2020 CBAC-Finalize Revenue Scenarios
- September 23, 2020 CBAC-Engagement Report Presentation Discussion Notes
- September 30, 2020 CBAC-Additional Information Parks and Recreation Budget
City staff has already cut six full-time positions and two part-time positions from the 2021 budget. The Community Budget Advisory Committee is analyzing additional staffing reductions that would reduce up to 28.5 full and part-time positions.
Given the wide range of positions at the City, there is no “one size fits all” reduction that makes sense. Pay is set at the individual position level – pay for civil engineers moves differently than the pay for administrative assistants, which moves differently than pay for police officers.
Hospitality revenues are not expected to return to their former levels until 2025. The City needs to make decisions now to balance the budget both for the 2021 budget year, but also for future years. Pay cuts are not a permanent solution to the City’s budget.
Other cities who are not as dependent on hospitality revenues are giving cost of living raises next year. Good employees have choices for where they work, and pay cuts will cause good employees to seek better pay elsewhere.
The State’s pay equity law requires cities to have a job evaluation system and a pay structure. The jobs are categorized according to the evaluation and then assigned appropriate compensation.
The City of Bloomington has five labor unions, which require the City to follow significant rules, processes, and laws guiding employee relations and compensation, and severely limits the City’s ability to impose terms and conditions of employment without negotiation.
Cities also are obligated to participate in binding arbitration with unions comprised of essential employees who, as defined by labor relations law, are not allowed to strike. In Bloomington, four of the five unions are essential work groups who have the right to go to binding arbitration. This means that an independent third party decides contested items of negotiation if the parties cannot agree. Arbitrators typically have a three-tiered approach to make their determination:
- External market comparisons;
- Internal equity among other City employee groups; and
- Ability to pay by the employer.
The “market” that arbitrators consider is generally other cities in the metro area of similar size. Information we have from other large, suburban cities indicates that they plan to proceed with cost of living pay increases for their employees in 2021. This is likely due to the fact that their operating budgets are not reliant on lodging and admission taxes the way Bloomington’s budget is and therefore are not experiencing the same challenges.
We have been successful in negotiating a wage freeze for 2021 with one union, and believe the other groups that do not yet have settled contracts will agree to the same. This wage freeze will be extended to non-union employees, as well.
In order to address the 2020 budget shortfall due to COVID-19, the City has reduced staff positions, delayed hiring vacant positions, postponed capital projects, reduced planned supplies and services expenses, and carefully analyzed operations for efficiencies and further reductions.
The City Council appointed a volunteer Community Budget Advisory Committee in May 2020 to develop 2021 budget scenarios that prioritized options of service reductions that included input from the community on what they value most.
Property taxes typically comprise 68% of the revenues that support the General Fund budget. Other revenue sources include permit fees, license fees, grant revenues, program fees, and lodging and admissions taxes. Lodging and admissions taxes usually generate about 13% of the City’s General Fund revenue. Due to the pandemic, these revenues have declined by more than $5 million, and are less than half of what was collected before COVID-19.
The committee looked at program fees and is proposing increases in certain areas. Competition keeps the City from making large fee increases – for example, golfers have choices about where they choose to play rounds.
In 2020, several construction and capital projects were postponed. For example the pavement maintenance sealcoating program was cancelled in 2020. The City is not currently working on any plans to replace Creekside, including the location or design of a new community center.
Recessions like these can be good opportunities for the City to get more for its project money. This happened in the aftermath of 9/11, when the City in some cases saved 10-15% on projects.
Bloomington’s location in the metro area, with prominent highway access and convenient access to the airport, makes it a natural location for hospitality businesses. The City has worked for decades to use these features to its advantage. The result is a vibrant, growing hospitality industry with a strong national brand. It employs many Bloomington residents and generates lodging tax revenue that lowers Bloomington property taxes by about 10%. The pandemic-driven decline in lodging tax revenue just proves how this industry helps keep property taxes low. It’s painful to watch the near-term impact of the pandemic on hospitality jobs, but industry analysts expect it to recover in a three to five year timeframe. It’s not just Bloomington that is excited about the long term prospects of the hospitality industry. Cities throughout the metro area are working hard to add hotels in order to get the same benefits that Bloomington has received for decades.
PDF versions of the above questions and answers, including translations in Somali and Spanish:
The City of Bloomington Assessor's Office determines the value of approximately 32,000 parcels within the city for property tax purposes. Visit the City Assessor's Office webpage for more information.
Visit the Finance Department's Financial reports webpage for more info about the following documents.
The advisory committee is made up of nine members who have knowledge of municipal budgets and City government. Through the coming months, the Community Budget Advisory Committee will engage community members and review the City’s budget and services to provide the Council recommendations given the budget challenges. By looking at the overall budget instead of reducing services one by one, the City Council and City staff are aiming to make sure service changes reflect what community members value most.
- Commercial Real Estate Broker/Advisor
- Former MN State Representative, Metropolitan Council Member, Bloomington Mayor and City Council Member
- Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University; BA Hastings College, Nebraska
- Port Authority Board Commissioner (current)
- City Charter Commissioner (current)
- City Councilmember (former)
- Software engineer
- Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, University of Minnesota
- Metropolitan Council Internal Auditor
- Class of 2019 Bloomington Leadership Program Member
- MPP - University of Minnesota, BA - University of Wisconsin
- Three Rivers Park District Commissioner
- Comcast Corporation’s Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, with responsibility for the nationwide state-level government affairs for Comcast and NBCUniversal including the formation of legislative strategies and policy initiatives.
- Current member, Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners (formerly Hennepin Parks) representing Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Richfield. This follows a ten year stint on the Hennepin County Library Board (three years as president). John Gibbs is also a member of the board of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership as well as the boards of Artistry Theater and Visual Arts and the Minnesota River Valley Chapter of the Izaak Walton League. Gibbs is the former chair of the Hennepin County Policy Advisory Committee, a former member of the Bloomington Charter Commission, former member and chair of the Bloomington Cable Commission.
- Graduate, Bloomington Lincoln High School
- BA, History, Geography, University of Minnesota
- JD, William Mitchell College of Law
- Bloomington Chief of Police (retired)
- City of Bloomington Merit Board Member (current)
- BA Metro State
- Ergotron / Senior Manager, Latin America
- Apothecary Products LLC / Director, Latin America
- Class of 2019 Bloomington Leadership Program Member
- Bloomington Latino Leadership Member
- Bloomington Leadership Program: Learn to Lead / Member
- VEAP, Bloomington volunteer
- Interpreter, Translator for Bloomington Schools
- Latino Lead City of Minneapolis / Member
- Women Entrepreneur of Minnesota / Board Member
- MS International Business / University of Minnesota Mankato, MN
- Mini MBA / University of St. Thomas, MN
- BA Accounting / University of Lima, Peru
- Career in Food Manufacturing Industry, Associate Marketing Manager
- Class of 2019 Bloomington Leadership Program Member
- Master of Business Administration - University of St. Thomas, Bachelors of Science - University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
- Bloomington Chamber President (former)
- President of Bloomington Area Hockey Association (former)