Archive | September, 2012

2013 Expenditures Appropriated by County Council

24 Sep

Much of the discussion surrounding the Monroe County budget process focuses around the General Fund, both because that fund supports most (but not all) of the core county government functions, but also because that fund is relatively unrestricted in use, and therefore allows a greater degree of discretion and prioritization by Council members. However, although it is the largest, the General Fund is only one fund that the Council appropriates from during the annual budget process — and focus solely on the General Fund doesn’t properly present the full picture of the functions of and expenditures on County government operations.

The following table summarizes all of the funds and budgets appropriated by the County Council during the past four days of budget hearings for 2013, in the interest of providing a better picture of the scope of responsibility and authority of the County Council for the budgeting process.

While you are looking at this table, please note the following:

1. I didn’t always use the exact legal title of the fund; if the legal title was unclear or abbreviated, I used editorial discretion to make it a bit clearer.

2. There are other funds for certain county operations that are not appropriated by the County Council (such as Community Corrections) and others that are appropriated as-needed, rather than during the annual budget process (such as funds for grants).

3. In general, money is not transferrable between funds, except in certain very limited circumstances.

4. The first two funds together, General and COIT, now comprise what has formerly been the General Fund.

Following are the 2013 budgets appropriated by the Monroe County Council during the 2013 budget hearings. Note that these budgets will be formally approved and adopted during Budget Adoption hearings on October 9-10, 2012.

 

Fund Dept Name  Dept Total  Fund Total
General  $20,368,097.05
Clerk  $1,679,601.54
Voter Registration  $102,098.79
Election Board  $118,251.88
Auditor  $555,525.72
Recorder  $179,347.39
Animal Control  $404,630.87
Surveyor  $92,546.19
Coroner  $190,345.52
Assessor  $723,884.15
Prosecutor  $1,658,390.75
Child Support  $969,922.26
Extension Services  $225,647.98
Comm/Veteran Affairs  $65,936.52
County Council  $341,855.10
Human Resources  $110,426.95
Commissioners  $2,799,151.19
Fleet  $61,800.00
County Buildings  $1,481,224.80
Planning  $540,084.64
Tech Services  $528,833.50
Public Defender  $1,154,632.06
Comm/Legal  $440,045.00
Building Commission  $592,436.75
Emergency Management  $136,008.00
Correctional Center  $4,448,223.00
Parks & Recreation  $767,246.50
COIT  $9,350,193.08
Treasurer  $388,812.43
Unified Courts  $4,907,870.94
Sheriff  $3,994,529.26
Weights & Measures  $58,980.45
Juvenile COIT  $1,450,947.04
YSB  $786,945.68
Juvenile Probation  $664,001.36
Per Diems  $324,489.89
Per Diems  $324,489.89
Clerk’s Perpetuation Fund  $74,957.53
Clerk’s Perpetuation Fund  $74,957.53
Auditor’s Ineligible Deductions  $38,182.50
Auditor’s Ineligible Deductions  $38,182.50
Auditor’s Plat Book Fund  $20,765.00
Auditor’s Plat Book Fund  $20,765.00
Monroe County 911  $256,864.31
Monroe County 911  $256,864.31
Surveyor’s Corner Perpetuation Fund  $18,230.25
Surveyor’s Corner Perpetuation  $18,230.25
Reassessment 2015  $346,147.50
Reassessment 2015  $346,147.50
County Assessor/Real Estate Disclosure  $45,382.50
County Assessor/Real Estate Disclosure  $45,382.50
Extradition  $12,691.00
Extradition  $12,691.00
Diversion User Fees  $528,682.76
Diversion User Fees  $528,682.76
Cable Franchise Fees  $636,230.00
Cable Franchise Fees  $636,230.00
Cumulative Capital Development  $3,153,336.01
Cumulative Capital Development  $3,153,336.01
Showers Building Operating  $259,355.85
Showers Building Operating  $259,355.85
Public Defender Supplemental  $584,742.97
Public Defender Supplemental  $584,742.97
Emergency Plan and Right to Know  $40,150.00
Emergency Plan and Right to Know  $40,150.00
Corrections Misdemeanant  $82,725.00
Corrections Misdemeanant  $82,725.00
Park Capital Fund  $36,470.00
Park Capital Fund  $36,470.00
Health General  $1,084,519.28
Health General  $1,084,519.28
Health Maintenance  $72,672.00
Health Maintenance  $72,672.00
Health Tobacco Cessation  $54,261.98
Health Tobacco Cessation  $54,261.98
Aviation General  $813,143.96
Aviation General  $813,143.96
Convention Center Debt Service  $632,000.00
Convention Center Debt Service  $632,000.00
Convention Center Capital Improvement and Maintenance  $36,000.00
Convention Center Capital Improvement and Maintenance  $36,000.00
Convention Center Revenue  $556,600.00
Convention Center Revenue  $556,600.00
Convention and Visitors Commission  $1,517,700.00
Convention and Visitors Commission  $1,517,700.00
Highway Administration  $705,957.14
Highway Administration  $705,957.14
Highway Maintenance and Repair  $3,139,369.53
Highway Maintenance and Repair  $3,139,369.53
Highway General and Undistributed Expenses  $559,762.81
Highway General and Undistributed Expenses  $559,762.81
Local Road and Street  $845,000.00
Local Road and Street  $845,000.00
Cumulative Bridge  $427,208.50
455 (Personnel)  $312,208.50
458 (Projects)  $115,000.00
Westside Economic Development (TIF)  $1,789,000.00
Westside Economic Development (TIF)  $1,789,000.00
State Road 46 Corridor (TIF)  $105,000.00
State Road 46 Corridor (TIF)  $105,000.00
Fullerton Pike (TIF)  $280,000.00
Fullerton Pike (TIF)  $280,000.00
Stormwater Management  $1,053,000.00
Stormwater Management  $1,053,000.00
Jury Fund  $18,000.00
Jury Fund  $18,000.00
Alternative Dispute Resolution  $21,000.00
Alternative Dispute Resolution  $21,000.00
Juvenile Services Nonreverting  $31,375.00
Juvenile Services Nonreverting  $31,375.00
County Offender Transportation  $3,000.00
County Offender Transportation  $3,000.00
Juvenile Probation User Fees  $19,620.75
Juvenile Probation User Fees  $19,620.75
Problem Solving Court  $16,700.00
Problem Solving Court  $16,700.00
Project Income / Job Release  $700,828.71
Project Income / Job Release  $700,828.71
Probation User Fees / Adult  $397,258.27
Probation User Fees / Adult  $397,258.27
Court Alcohol/Drug Services Fees  $323,262.63
Court Alcohol/Drug Services Fees  $323,262.63
Total  $52,830,880.80  $52,830,880.80

 

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2013 COIT Distributions Available

17 Sep

Each fall, usually just before or during budget hearings, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) announces the distribution of income tax revenues for the following year to each unit of local government in the County. This week, the COIT distributions for 2013 were released (the report for all units of government in the state is available here). These are income tax receipts that were collected between July 2011 and June 2012 by the state, and will then be distributed to each unit of government in Monroe County over 12 approximately equal monthly payments in 2013.

The page that shows these distributions is available here: Monroe County 2013 COIT Distribution.

Income taxes are collected at-large from individuals (not corporations — there is no local corporate tax in Indiana), and are then distributed to local units of government (the county, the three incorporated cities and towns, townships, the public library, Bloomington Transit, and the Perry Clear Creek Fire Protection District. The distribution to each local unit is based on a formula that roughly corresponds to the relative property tax footprint of the unit of government. What is interesting about this method of allocation is that it doesn’t matter where within the county a taxpayer lives — his or her income tax goes into a big pool and is distributed via the aforementioned formula. So a taxpayer in Polk Township could theoretically see his income taxes support the City of Bloomington, and a resident of Ellettsville could see her income taxes support the Perry Clear Creek Fire Protection District, etc.

For now, here are the COIT distributions for Monroe County for 2013.  Tomorrow I’ll provide some additional comparisons to past years,  and some interpretation of what the numbers mean.

Unit Name 2013 2013 %
Monroe County  $9,663,002 40.1%
Bean Blossom Township  $37,378 0.2%
Benton Township  $51,404 0.2%
Bloomington Township  $403,439 1.7%
Clear Creek Township  $61,958 0.3%
Indian Creek Township  $23,879 0.1%
Perry Township  $187,840 0.8%
Polk Township  $15,561 0.1%
Richland Township  $219,758 0.9%
Salt Creek Township  $19,556 0.1%
Van Buren Township  $418,035 1.7%
Washington Township  $23,625 0.1%
Bloomington Civil City  $9,440,104 39.1%
Ellettsville Civil Town  $567,758 2.4%
Stinesvill Civil Town  $2,718 0.0%
Monroe County Public Library  $2,075,631 8.6%
Bloomington Transportation  $389,105 1.6%
Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection  $515,177 2.1%
Total  $24,115,928

This means that Monroe County Government, for example, will receive $9,663,002 in income tax over 2013, in 12 approximately equal monthly payments. This is greater than we had been projecting based on past experiences. I will explain why the change in a future blog posting. But in any case, it is very good news for those of us who have to pass a budget for Monroe County Government for 2013!

Second Day of Monroe County Budget Hearings

14 Sep

Tonight the Monroe County Council completed the second (of four) days of hearings for the 2013 budget. Today, the following departments’ budgets were approved:

  • Sheriff
  • Correctional Center (Jail)
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Assessor
  • Animal Control
  • Planning
  • Technical Services (IT)
  • Building Commission
  • Auditor

The evening began with some good news: Monroe County’s share of the County Option Income Tax (COIT) for 2013 came in at $9.66M, instead of the $9.5M that we had projected. I’ll do another post about the COIT receipts shortly.

After taking into account the new COIT news, and the evening’s activities, the Council cut $209K from departmental requests, leaving a “paper” deficit of around $905K. Remember that departments never spent all of their budgets (primarily because of vacant positions), and so a nominal budgeted deficit will not necessarily actually result in a real reduction in cash at the end of the year. At the same time, the Council created a new sheriff’s deputy position, a priority that a number of councilmembers, including myself, have declared as priorities for several years.

As with yesterday’s posting, I’ll give a quick synopsis of the budgetary decisions made today that have (in my opinion) policy implications:

  • Sheriff
    •  Chief Deputy and Jail Commander: The council provided a 3.5% raise to the Sheriff’s Chief Deputy and the Jail Commander. For most chief deputy positions, the County pays, by compensation policy, 75% of the elected official that the chief deputy provides. However, the chief deputies of the Sheriff do not fall under this policy, and make significantly less than 75% of the Sheriff’s salary. This was a small attempt at an equity adjustment for these two chief deputies.
    • Merit Deputy: Typically the Sheriff’s Department can only provide three deputies on duty at any shift to cover the entire unincorporated area of the county. Many members of the Council, including myself, have sought to increase the number of road deputies. Last year we were able to create one new position and this year we did the same.
    • Animal Control: The animal control interlocal agreement between Monroe County, the town of Ellettsville, and the City of Bloomington sets the terms of the payment that Monroe County and Ellettsville make to the City of Bloomington for the use of their animal shelter, and is perennially a source of controversy. This evening, the Council appropriated $293,580 for this service, a (substantial) increase from $237,342 in 2012.  For the past two years, the interlocal agreement has been based on a formula: the county pays the City of Bloomington a percentage of the actual costs of running the shelter (and only the shelter itself, not the outreach, programming, and other services provided by the City). That percentage is determined by the percentage of the animals dropped off at the shelter from residents of the unincorporated areas of the county as a percentage of the total number of animals dropped off at the shelter the previous year. Similarly the Town of Ellettsville pays the percentage based on the number of animals dropped off by Ellettsville residents. Pretty much everyone agrees that this agreement is fair. However, it is frustrating to Monroe County because it represents a cost to the county that is not controllable. In particular, this year’s substantial increase was caused by a policy change of the City’s. Per the interlocal agreement, the City of Bloomington counts animals dropped off by out-of-county residents towards the city’s share of the costs of the shelter.
  • Planning
    • Consulting: The Council rejected a request from the Plan Commission for $75K for consulting fees for one of two projects: the plan for the Bloomington Urbanizing Area (BUA) and/or an update of the zoning code. Although the request was denied, the Council recognized that it is necessary eventually, and also that it should be handled as an additional appropriation (essentially as a one-time investment), rather than a regular budget item. Several councilors also wanted to see pricing from potential consultants before making the appropriation.
  • Technical Services
    • Hourly: The Council denied the Technical Services Department (IT) requested to increase their $23K hourly budget to over $75K. Tech Services requested additional hourly funds for several purposes, including equipment inventory management and a one-time cable-pulling project in the Justice Building. Several councilors requested additional detail on the inventory management project, and one or two suggested that it should be a single full-time position (with benefits) instead. The Council had also previously advised the department that the cable-pulling project should be funded through an additional appropriation this year (2012), rather than as part of the 2013 budget. (*)
  • Auditor
    • Despite having requested a flat budget, the Auditor’s Office prompted what was probably the most spirited debate of the evening, centered around some State Board of Accounts comments in the most recent (2011) annual audit related to grants records management in the Auditor’s Office. Some councilors wanted to increase the staff in the Auditor’s Office (despite the fact that the Auditor did not request any increased staff) in order to better support the grants compliance process. Several others suggested that the Grants Administrator position in the Commissioners’ Office should be moved to the Auditor’s Office for this purpose. However, the Grants Administrator position in the Commissioners’ Office was created for a completely different purpose (and Council meeting minutes from when the position was created confirm this): to pursue grant and other partnership and community development opportunities and to oversee grants compliance with the various funding agencies, not to manage the claims files in the Auditor’s Office. At the end of the day, however, no changes were made to the Auditor’s budget — but there was a general recognition that the next auditor might come forward with a request depending on how he or she chose to organize the office.

All in all, some good progress was made on the budget — but many of the more challenging requests (mostly for additional staff, or movement of staff from other funds to the general fund) will come next week.

(*) Not infrequently, departmental budget requests will be denied, but with instructions to request the funding as an additional appropriation, rather than as part of their annual budget. It is the same money — why the difference? Mainly because anything that is put into the usual annual budget for a department will over time become the base for subsequent years’ budget requests. As councilmembers change, the original context of a one-time appropriation may be forgotten. By handling one-time expenses as additional appropriations, the Council is trying to make sure that those one-time expenses don’t become part of the “base” for subsequent budget requests.

First Day of Monroe County Budget Hearings

13 Sep

Last night, the Monroe County Council completed its first day of four scheduled days of budget hearings.

The following is a very abbreviated summary of changes made from the 2012 budget. I’m only including changes here that in my opinion have some policy implication, and are not just corrections of errors, technical changes, or continuation of the status quo, etc.

  • Recorder: Moved around $55K of personnel expenses from the Recorder’s Perpetuation Fund to the General Fund, to reduce the amount of subsidy that the Recorder’s Perpetuation Fund (funded by fees on recorded documents) has been providing to the General Fund over the past 4 years or so.
  • County Council:
    • BEDC: Reinstated the County Council’s voting membership in the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) in the amount of $5250. In effect, ever since the County Council eliminated the Community Development position in the Commissioners’ budget, Monroe County has outsourced our economic development functions to the BEDC. If we are going to make that choice, then we need to have a seat at the table. Unfortunately, due to fiscal necessity, the County Council was forced to eliminate this membership in the 2012 budget. This very small expenditure is controversial primarily because in previous decades, and under different leadership, the BEDC was primarily a real estate development organization (i.e., an organization primarily focused on increasing rents to property owners). More recently, the BEDC has been very clear in both word and action that it is focused entirely on jobs and wages — the rightful focus of a community economic development organization.
    • Community Service Grants: The appropriation for the Community Service Grants program (which provides small competitive grants to local nonprofits and units of government) was increased from $95K (where it has been since it was created in 2008) to $100K.  This increase is minuscule compared to the needs of the community; however, it was an amount that received unanimous approval on the Council.
    • Compensation Consulting Fees: A request for $5250 for additional services from the County’s compensation and job classification consultant (Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele & Associates, generally referred to as WIS) was stripped from the budget.
  • Human Resources: Approved an additional $10,400 for hourly support. This was one of the most controversial votes of the evening. The key question under debate was the importance of human resources itself as a professional function — is Human Resources a critical function for a large, modern organization? Monroe County Government is a corporation with over 500 employees, and needs a professional human resources organization. One full time professional and a half-time hourly employee is less than functional for the size and complexity of our organization; however, apparently even the existence of a professional HR department is controversial to some, who seem to imply that HR is little more than record-keeping, which can just as easily be performed by the auditor’s office.
  • County Commissioners:
    • Ambulance: The Commissioners requested $100K to support the ambulance service (Bloomington Hospital Ambulance Service, BHAS). Traditionally some support for the ambulance has been provided by the County, although it was stripped from the budget last year. The ambulance request was rejected by the Council again this year. I argued strenuously in favor of the appropriation, noting that it was a vital public service and that the hospital was not required to provide the services, or to provide them at the high level of quality that it does. Other councilors seemed more swayed by the arguments that this service was just another subsidy of a large corporation (IU Health) that would put more money in the pockets of its top executives.
    • Funding for Stone Belt, LifeDesigns, and Centerstone were all given a cost of living increase of 2.8% (and in addition the Council corrected the $67K  error that had been made that shorted LifeDesigns $67K for 2012).  I have written about this issue before here.
    • Rural Transit: the subsidy for Rural Transit was doubled from $30K to $60K to provide the County with seed money to try to start a rural commuter park and ride program. Indiana Public Media wrote a brief story about this initiative here.
    • Temporary Space: Rental for temporary space was reduced from $21K to $10K, reflecting increasing use of the Showers Government Center. The remaining $10K is still needed for Extension Services, which pays utilities and cleaning for a part of the Solid Waste Management District building, and for the Cantol Wax Building, which is being used temporarily for old document storage.
    • CATS: Community Access Television Services (CATS) was given a 3% increase out of Cable Franchise Fees revenues.
    • WFHB Weather Alert: The county chose to continue to fund the weather alert service of WFHB (community / public radio) in the amount of $2K from the Cable Franchise Fees budget. The county has for a number of years funded a similar service for WFIU, but started this year funding WFHB for the same public safety service.
    • Tech Support Position: An IT technical support position was placed in the Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) fund (and presumably will be removed from the general fund budget tomorrow). This brings to 7 the number of IT employees funded out of the CCD budget. Normally, the CCD fund can only be used for capital items; however, the statute specifically permits IT support positions to be paid from this fund.
    • Voting Machines: The Council voted to zero out the $271K voting machines line from the CCD fund. This line was to be used to pay for voting machines necessary because we are not going to be a vote center county for 2012. Although this is a somewhat symbolic act (the Commissioners can move money to another line if they choose, to pay for this equipment), the Council Democrats voiced their extreme displeasure at the Election Board for not approving vote centers (the vote must be unanimous on the 3-member Election Board, and the lone Republican appointee has thus far refused to allow the County to become a vote center county).
  • Health: The Health Department was allowed to budget for the creation of a new grant-funded Disease Intervention Specialist position.

The following budgets were approved yesterday:

  • Recorder
  • Extension Services
  • County Council
  • Human Resources
  • Commissioners
  • Fleet
  • County Building Services (Maintenance)
  • Weights and Measures
  • Legal
  • Parks and Recreation

More action tonight, when the Council considers the budgets for Veterans Affairs, the Assessor, Sheriff, Jail, Coroner, Airport, Building Commission, Plan Commission, the Auditor, and Technical Services (IT)!

More About the Carmel Redevelopment Commission

11 Sep

I have posted before on the controversies involving the Carmel Redevelopment Commission .

Today’s Indy Star has a long and somewhat jaw-dropping article that describes in detail the creative financing that Carmel’s mayor (Jim Brainard) and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission used both to fuel the construction boom in the Downtown Carmel TIF district, but also to drive the Redevelopment Commission to the brink of default.

In short, in order to avoid the oversight and opposition of the Carmel City Council, the Redevelopment Commission not only bonded for the capital construction of the Center for the Performing Arts and other infrastructure in the downtown TIF, but also devised a creative method to finance upgrades to the center, and even more stunningly, the operations of the center and a separate staff for the Redevelopment Commission.

Typically, Redevelopment Commissions use the staff of their parent city or county, because TIF funding can’t be used to hire staff. Monroe County’s Redevelopment Commission, for example, uses the services of one of the Monroe County attorneys. However, in the case of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, they and the mayor didn’t want the scrutiny that would come from having city staff supporting the commission. They developed a financing method called “installment purchase contracts” that would basically allow developers to take out public debt (often at a very high rate of interest) and then have the Redevelopment Commission contract with the developers for the purchase of the improvements (seemingly a variant of the more common lease-purchase arrangement). Revenue from this arrangement was then used to fund the operations of the Redevelopment Commission. In essence, this was borrowing on assets to fund operations — an inherently unsustainable activity (sort of like taking out a home equity loan to pay your electric bill).

The mayor and the Redevelopment Commission’s defense, however, is spirited as well: the mayor had a strong vision for downtown Carmel that required significant redevelopment, and that ultimately resulted in very positive national recognition for livability of the city.

Ultimately the resolution will involve some sort of refinancing of the debts of the Redevelopment Commission by the City of Carmel. The major point of negotiation will be about how much control over the RDC’s operations and activities the city (and the council) will demand.

The whole article is here, and is very much worth reading:

Alice Eads Elected to Serve Remainder of Warren Henegar’s Term on the Monroe County Council

10 Sep

Alice Eads Sworn in by City Clerk Regina Moore

Tonight, the Monroe County Democratic Party held a party caucus and elected Alice Eads, daughter of late County Council member Warren Henegar, to serve out the remaining term of her father on the Monroe County Council. Alice will serve until December 31, 2012. She was sworn into office immediately after the caucus meeting by City Clerk Regina Moore.

Alice joins the Council only two days before our more challenging time — budget hearings.

Thanks go to Alice for her willingness to carry out and carry on her father’s vision on the Council. And thanks also go to Alice for her willingness to serve the community by lending her own intelligence, values, and wisdom to the Council for the next 4 months.

North Park: Monroe County’s Future, or Ghost Suburb?

6 Sep

North Park — more formally known as the State Road 46 Economic Development Area — is one of Monroe County’s 3 TIF districts. Appropriately, it lies along State Road 46, between Bloomington and Ellettsville. I think a lot of Monroe County residents would be surprised at how much infrastructure has been installed in North Park — and simultaneously how little development there is.

Map of the Curry Pike Extension at North Park

A number of streets have been stubbed out with full infrastructure (water, sewer, communications), along with sidewalks and multiuse trails. However, the most notable thing about area is that there is almost no development!

Yet unnamed street off of the Curry Pike extension into North Park

Normally, no development — and therefore no tax increment — is disastrous for a TIF district and a local unit of government. Because the increment is used to pay the bond, if there is no increment due to development, the TIF district can’t pay the bond for the infrastructure, and the local unit of government (city or county) is on the hook. However, the North Park TIF district was set up such that the infrastructure bond was backed by the developer (Steve Crider, hence the nickname “Criderville”). This means that when the tax increment is insufficient to make the bond payments, the developer, not Monroe County, is on the hook.

Currently, the only tenants of this section of North Park (the Curry Pike extension east of SR46) are some grazing cows behind an electrified fence.

The only current tenants of North Park

Multiuse trail at the end of the Curry Pike extension into North Park

The Curry Pike extension currently dead-ends into Hunter Valley. A bridge is in process that will eventually connect Curry Pike to Hunter Valley Road.

Eventual connection to Hunter Valley, via a bridge over the creek

Wastewater (sewage) treatment is provided by a small package wastewater treatment plant off of Hunter Valley Road.

Package wastewater treatment plant for North Park

All of the lots are wired with fiber and communications infrastructure.

Communications infrastructure

A yet-unnamed street perpendicular to Curry Pike ends in Stoutes Creek, which was frothy and very muddy after a pretty powerful rain earlier today.

Muddy water in Stoutes Creek

If you continue beyond the the end of the unnamed street to the north, a trail leads around and over Stoutes Creek to the construction staging area.

Construction staging area outside Stoutes Creek

The 2012 Capital Improvement Report for Monroe County’s 3 TIF districts reveals some aspirations for the North Park TIF district. A section labeled “Other Projects” states that “These projects may include, but not be limited to construction of a passenger rail service, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bus transit facilities, assistance with low-income housing, fiber optic conduit, and multi-level parking facilities.” So what is the future of North Park — the new urbanist dream promised by the TIF plan? Just another opportunity for suburban car-oriented sprawl? Or a really beautiful ghost suburb, populated by a herd of grazing cows?