Bloomington spending priorities-you decide

by:  Diane Benjamin Number one complaint of citizens:  roads falling apart.  So the City borrows $10,000,000 and plans to budget another $4,000,000.  The budget comes out and the $4,000,000 is cut.  The City can’t find a way to keep your car from getting damaged dodging potholes. Guess what they can find money for? Golf paths. […]

Hey! Big pensions and Social Security

by:  Diane Benjamin It’s common knowledge that government pensions are MUCH bigger than anything offered in the private sector.  Teachers remind us they don’t qualify for Social Security, which is true.  But what about local government employees? Below is a list of City of Bloomington employees where the City is paying into both the pension […]

NO progressive Income tax for Illinois!

Lawmakers and special-interest groups across Illinois are trying to dupe Illinoisans into paying higher income taxes. They’re trying to convince Illinoisans that a progressive income tax hike is only a tax hike on the rich. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Need proof? Look at both progressive tax proposals on the table in […]

Running as GOP? UPDATE for elections

by:  Diane Benjamin One guy running on the GOP ticket is making a mockery of his position.  Precinct committeemen are the “boots on the ground” for the Republican Party.  It is their job to promote GOP candidates to citizens in their precincts.  Many take their job seriously, some don’t.  If you are a GOP primary […]

Bloomington: Employee benefits compared

by:  Diane Benjamin Being a CPA, I like numbers.  Frequently they reveal interesting things.  Here’s my latest: The information listed about employees is now really good on both the Champaign and Bloomington websites – thanks to the Illinois Policy Institute.  All expenses per employee are listed, so I decided to see how much Bloomington pays […]

Bloomington: Employee benefits compared

by:  Diane Benjamin Being a CPA, I like numbers.  Frequently they reveal interesting things.  Here’s my latest: The information listed about employees is now really good on both the Champaign and Bloomington websites – thanks to the Illinois Policy Institute.  All expenses per employee are listed, so I decided to see how much Bloomington pays […]

Fly on the Wall: Electric Aggregation

I’m hearing some of those low electric rates, that were supposed to be locked in by aggregation, may not be so locked. If you live in Bloomington, the rate signed with  Homefield Energy (Ameren) was $0.04539 per kilowatt hour.  It was signed in May 2013 and lasts for 22 months. In Normal the rate is $0.04099 per […]

Mayor Renner commits a FELONY?

by:  Diane Benjamin At last Monday’s City Council meeting Mayor Renner admitted to committing a FELONY. Below is the archived video from the City’s YouTube channel.  Start watching at 1:33:00 Mayor Renner proclaimed a new Art Gallery is now open – in his office!  A citizens hung paintings on consignment on Public Property.  His […]

Bloomington: Quality of Life money grab

by:  Diane Benjamin The Council decided their job was to entertain citizens way back when they built the Coliseum and bought the BPCA building.  They have been on a spending spree ever since – with your money.  The Parks & Rec budget includes golf, Pepsi Ice Center, BPCA, Zoo, pools, and all other summer activities. […]

Dan Rutherford: I Did Nothing Wrong….Don’t You Believe Me?

February 25, 2014  Edgar County Watchdogs In numerous recent interviews and debate settings, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has denied there is anything to the allegations of sexual harassment of his employees to include pressure to campaign for him on state time. Even after a federal law suit was filed against him, denial has been the stance. Denial backed […]

Comparing Salaries: Bloomington and Champaign

by:  Diane Benjamin In 2012 the population of Bloomington is listed at 77,733.  Champaign’s population was 82,517 This is a link to the City of Champaign salaries: This is a link to Library salaries in Champaign: Champaign numbers are fiscal year ended 6/30/13 Champaign City Manager Salary:  $194,905 Total employees for City and Library   […]

Bloomington Employee Compensation

by:  Diane Benjamin At last night’s Council meeting, David Hales claimed the 619 City employees were over-worked and under paid.   The salary information is now listed on the City website: Below is a recap of the number of employees by salary: . . . . . . Estimated median household income in 2011:  […]

More taxes Bloomington!

by:  Diane Benjamin I hope the residents of Bloomington took the time to watch the Council meeting on-line tonight.  You can’t really tell what they are thinking unless you watch it.  It will be available here if you missed it tonight:  Bring coffee, it’s long. There was a presentation of the budget – $180,000,000 […]

Fly on the Wall: Chamber of Commerce

I have to congratulate the McLean Chamber of Commerce for coming out against the 1% Sales Tax hike wanted by the schools. Hopefully they will decide all future increases the same way-the effect it has on local business. Has leadership at the Chamber changed?  Just wondering.  I hope they aren’t holding off for a different […]

League of Women Voters has NO credibility left

by:  Diane Benjamin The IRS has been targeting conservative groups.  Even though the President stated he wouldn’t stand for it, nothing has changed.  In fact, the IRS is trying to get new rules to limit 1st amendment rights to free speech in elections. Below is part of an email sent by the League:      […]

Attorney General is Failing Illinois

Attorney General Lisa Madigan fails to protect the people of Illinois.  If corruption is too big for her to handle, she should step aside.  We can’t even hold local governments accountable because of  her Public Access Office.  It shouldn’t take a year of more to get an opinion!      60% of Freedom of Information Act […]

Bloomington: Culture Change is going to COST you

by:  Diane Benjamin Last November the Bloomington City Council held a retreat.  The big topic was a “Culture Change” at the City.  I previously reported on it here: Remember, this is the retreat that triggered the Open Meetings Act violation filed by Alderwoman Judy Stearns.  It also triggered Mayor Renner and David Hales hiring […]

Letter writers should use facts-Modified Wards

by:  Diane Benjamin I thought the Modified Ward issue was pretty much dead since all the former supporters are now in hiding.  But today Glen Ludwig has a Letter to the Editor supporting Modified Wards.  Facts matter Glen, here they are: The Bloomington Alderman do not do a City plan!  Glen laments it’s been 9 […]

Attorney General is for the CITY to IGNORE

by:  Diane Benjamin In November I filed another Request for Review with the Attorney General’s Public Access Office.  It concerned Aldermen Fazzini, Fruin, and Black PLUS Mayor Renner  conspiring together to put the Modified Ward referendum on the March 18th primary ballot. I have NUMEROUS documents outlining their strategy and meetings.  They thought they had […]

Fly on the Wall: Joni Painter UPDATE

Make sure you read the Comments! A neighbor told me Mayor Renner’s pick to replace Jennifer McDade on the Bloomington City Council is a big Obama supporter.  Okay, I can see somebody making a mistake in 2008, but 2012? No surprise since Tari doesn’t consider himself a non-partisan mayor. Does Ward 5 feel they will […]

I can’t come up with a title for this one!

by:  Diane Benjamin Allow me to set this up: The City of Bloomington owns the Pepsi Ice Center. I reported earlier the Pepsi Ice Center showed a profit: The City of Bloomington own the Coliseum, but they handed it over to CIAM to manage. The Pepsi Ice Center now has so many users they […]

Fly on the Wall: Ukraine

Have you seen the news coverage?  Citizens are in the streets protesting because their leadership wants to partner with Russia instead of Europe.  They demand Freedom, not being under Russia’s thumb. Have you noticed how they are fighting back?  Burning tires in the streets to stop the police and throwing rocks and bricks. They made […]

Still living in Illinois? Why?

by:  Diane Benjamin Illinois ranks 2nd for more people leaving than moving in.  Only New Jersey out-ranks Illinois.  (What does that say about NJ Gov. Chris Christie?)  The list of why it’s happening is almost endless, but they all have to do with one thing:  GOVERNMENT.  The first job of government is to protect the […]

ISU students encouraged to destroy their futures

by:  Diane Benjamin Young people have turned on President Obama.  According to a recent poll, 71% of Obama voters regret voting for him in 2012: Young people are realizing the massive debt is going to fall on them.  What does government do?  Give more presents! Today in the ISU newspaper – the Daily Vidette: […]

Does anybody know the Coliseum Parking garage is still closed?

by:  Diane Benjamin The 7-8 year old Coliseum parking garage has been closed since October.  The media isn’t asking questions.  Citizens must find out for themselves what the plan for it is.  David Hales issued his December Monthly Report: .  No mention of the parking garage.  Water usage is down from 2012 though.  Golf has been […]

Coliseum management incentivised to cheat-not do well

by:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington WANTED an arena, so they built it.  Not knowing anything about how to run one, they handed management to a private company.  Common sense would say that at least one City employee should be working at the Coliseum to keep an eye on the taxpayers investment.  There isn’t […]

Coliseum Recap

by:  Diane Benjamin I’ve posted a number of stories about the Coliseum.  The Coliseum saga exemplifies why government isn’t capable of running a business.  Who is looking out for taxpayer dollars? The Coliseum was built and turned over to a private company to run.  CIAM posted an income statement that posed more questions than answers. […]

Rauner hit mailing – Follow the Money

by:  Diane Benjamin If you got a newspaper-like campaign mailing from Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs – you need to know who funded it. This information is from The Republican Fund for Progress and jobs got their money from Prosperity and Jobs Fund.  Where did they get their money? Prosperity and Jobs Fund […]

Mayor Renner didn’t want an appeal!

by:  Diane Benjamin The following is part of an email Tari Renner sent to a constituent concerning the Scott Oglesby  case.  Maybe the Mayor should have said PUBLICLY how he felt.  Judge Foley might not have bowed to public pressure if she knew others agreed with the arbitrator’s decision. As far as the substance, Scott Oglesby […]

Legislating from the bench – Foley

by:  Diane Benjamin Scott Oglesby:  I hope you appeal Judge Foley’s ruling  to overturn the arbitrator’s decision.  Next time get a MALE judge.  The female factor is the only explanation for her ruling. The relationship between the Bloomington Police and David Hales was already strained.  The comments made by Hales, as reported in the Pantagraph […]