The Bloomington City Council unanimously approved new financial controls for the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission last night. City Clerk Regina Moore presented the synopsis of the motion to the Council.
“This legislation is coming forth from the mayor in concert with the entire council” Regina says. “Its primary purpose is to strengthen the city of Bloomington’s financial policies and to ensure the proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars”.
This reform to the Redevelopment Commission’s internal financial controls will put into code practices already adopted by the commission a year ago. These controls were put into place in the wake of a major fraud perpetrated by a former city employee. In March, Justin Wykoff pleaded guilty to defrauding the city of more than eight-hundred-thousand dollars, while employed as a project manager for the City. He perpetrated this crime while administering concrete contracts for sidewalk work within city TIF districts. City project work within Tax Increment Financing Districts is administered by the Redevelopment Commission. The misappropriated funds were authorized and overseen by the Commission. City Controller Jeff Underwood told the council that this kind of problem, and the search for reforms, is common among redevelopment commissions across the state.
“I failed to mention that Lisa Abbott is president of the redevelopment association of Indiana” Underwood reports. “They do meet quarterly and discuss all issues related to redevelopment commissions”.
Under the new regulations, the Commission will review each phase of every contract, and its associated expenditure, for every contract, as it proceeds. Furthermore, all prospective spending will be examined by the city’s auditing department and legal department, after which it will go back to the Commission for its approval. Finally, the City’s auditing and legal departments must sign off on each payment. Council President Dave Rollo made a final comment on the legislation.
“I appreciate the legislation’s diligence and attention to TIF funding”. Rollo exclaims passionately
The City Council passed the ordinance unanimously.