A recent survey examining Bloomington and Monroe County’s business environment found that, although business leaders who responded to the survey feel successful and committed to the area, nearly half are upset with the constraints of local government.

The Bloomington Economic Development Corp., the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, the city of Bloomington, Monroe County Government and Cook Group issued a joint survey this spring to find out what keeps businesses in Monroe County from succeeding and growing. Despite 90 percent of the survey’s nearly 140 respondents saying they were generally satisfied, only half were likely to recommend starting a business in the greater Bloomington region. Local government policies, regulations and processes were listed as the primary obstacles to a fertile economic landscape.

“These are real voices of business-involved folks who are expressing their view,” Mayor John Hamilton said. “Absolutely, we would expect there are people who say they’d like government to work more effectively this way or that way, and that’s a good expectation to have.”

Hamilton said it’s always tricky for governments to try to balance public involvement and transparency with being responsive and quick to address business’s needs.

“That balance is something that governments always need to look at. The democratic process is a process of compromise,” Hamilton said. “There’s a high level of endorsement from business folks who say they’re planning to keep going here in the next five years. Ninety-percent on anything — that’s pretty high.”

While small business supports and the downtown environment both polled favorably in the survey, respondents were less-enthused with the way the city and county deal with a variety of other issues. Public safety, graffiti, vandalism, road construction, homelessness, and limited downtown parking were cited as reasons why employees and customers both feel deterred from local businesses. According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents said local government policies are negatively affecting the success of their businesses and 45 percent believe it’s difficult to work with local government.

© Copyright 2019, HeraldTimesOnline, Bloomington, IN