When Bloomington’s City Council voted Monday to dissolve the Metro Zone Agreement with the Town of Normal unilaterally, the Mayor of Normal issued a statement Wednesday sharing his disapproval of this action and what he calls “several other behaviors” by the City of Bloomington.
Normal May Koos, in his statement, says:
“This action by the City, in conjunction with other recent decisions, sends a clear message that Bloomington considers itself our competitor, not our partner. The Bloomington City Council’s continued refusal to participate in, or even to discuss, collaborative efforts indicates the City’s adversarial attitude toward the Town.
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner has made public comments in recent days indicating his desire to explore new partnership opportunities with the Town of Normal and to collaborate with other community partners. Actions speak louder than words. The actions of Mayor Renner and the Bloomington City Council provide indisputable evidence their pledges to cooperate and collaborate with Normal and others are hollow and disingenuous. Mayor Renner has been using BN Advantage to justify the Metro Zone action. In fact, the actions of Mayor Renner and the City Council directly contradict the collaborative mission of BN Advantage. Unilateral action is not collaboration.
The termination of the Metro Zone agreement joins a growing list of behaviors by the City that are not neighborly or collaborative, and in many cases, are adversarial, including the use of lucrative incentives to lure businesses from Normal to Bloomington, unwillingness to even discuss collaborative ventures, and unilaterally withdrawing from other intergovernmental partnerships that resulted in a severe financial hardship to the Town.
In response, first, we intend to pursue our options to protect our 30-year investment in the MetroZone economic development area and ensure that the interests of the Town are served in the dissolution of the Metro Zone, particularly the preservation of revenue sources to which the Town believes it remains legally entitled.
Second, we must identify future spending priorities to account for the annual loss of $1.2 million through what we view as unethical and self-serving action by the City of Bloomington. To that end, all intergovernmental agreements with the City of Bloomington are currently under review to ensure that they are in the Town’s best interests. We will also review our participation in community efforts calling for collaboration with the City, as we now recognize involvement with a demonstrably untrustworthy partner such as the City of Bloomington may represent an undue financial risk.”
The statement added that the Normal Town Council will discuss this matter in detail on March 6.