Coliseum, etc: Citizen theft

by:  Diane Benjamin

I really hate to keep reminding the City of Bloomington:  The citizens voted NO on the Coliseum, but you built it anyway.  Government is NOT smarter than the people.  Government does NOT create sustainable jobs.  Government is not capable of being financially responsible with YOUR money because they don’t have to.

Call me a radical, but how many examples of government waste do you need before you remember why people came to America?  They were escaping the very government we have today.  They wanted to be free to make their own decisions.  They didn’t want government socially engineering their lives.

Name ONE problem today that government didn’t cause

 Bring it on – I dare you.

Let’s talk Coliseum.  The City built it and then turned it over to a private company to run.  So, your tax money was used to hand the income to a private group.  Meanwhile, the citizens are still on the hook for around $2,000,000 per year to pay for the construction.  The parking garage, which is less than 10 years old, is still closed because it’s unsafe.  Is anybody asking questions?  Is the City just allowing whoever built it to get by with shoddy work?  Parking garages have been built for a LONG time – the City hired a contractor who didn’t know how to build one?

Now, let’s look at the actual income and expenses.  A report by Bart Rogers, Vice President/General Manager of the company hired to run the Coliseum (CIAM) issued a report for 2012-2013.   See the report here:

On page 2:

That’s approximately 2.0 million people in seven years. The estimated overall economic impact was over $13 million dollars to Bloomington and the surrounding communities.

According to Mr. Rogers (pun intended) the 7 year economic impact has been $13 Million.  The City paid around $2 Million during those 7 years.  $2 Million times 7 years is $14,000,000 paid by the City to generate $13,000,000 in economic activity.  Everybody celebrate!

Look at page 9 of the report.  Total Annual Budgeted Revenue is $3,653,577.00.  Total budgeted Expenses are $ 3,556,271.38.  Factor in the $2,000,000 loan payments and it’s easy to see the Coliseum will never pay for itself.  Taxpayers get the bill.  The parking garage lasted less than 10 years.  How long do you think the Coliseum is going to be standing without major repairs?  How many years does the City have left to pay?  They really can’t answer because the debt has been refinanced and rolled together with other debt.  At least they got a lower interest rate.

Concessions aren’t covered by the auditing firm the City hires.  The same managers are involved, but it’s a separate company.  They did invest around $1,000,000 in equipment, but nobody can say if the City is getting their percentage of the income.

Once the Council and Mayor who thrust the Coliseum on Bloomington left office, the mess was left for the next  elected group and the next elected group.   Every group of elected officials thinks they are brilliant.  They will convince citizens their plans will work.

Mayor Renner still wants a hotel in downtown Bloomington.  The Economic Development Council and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce want the City government to create economic activity.  A member of the City Council was ON the Economic Development Council.  (Jennifer McDade)  Conflict of interest?

The Coliseum was built just so the City could say we have it.  The elected who voted for and built it had high hopes.  “Hopes” don’t pay the bills.  “Hopes” won’t pay for a downtown hotel either.  It’s call GAMBLING with money that isn’t yours.  Citizens keep voting for people who like to gamble.  Maybe voting for the boring guy who pledges not to build things like a Coliseum and a hotel would be safer for your wallet.

Tip to government:  If the private sector won’t build it, don’t think you are smarter than people using their own money.

Economics is easy, government makes it convoluted.  Create an atmosphere conducive to business and business will come.  Put government in charge of creating business and the citizens will pay for it.

Mayor Renner is getting ready to appoint a new Alderman.  If you want the appointment this is what you need to do:

  • Love the Economic Development Council
  • Love the McLean County Chamber of Commerce
  • Love spending money downtown
  • Love adding on to the library
  • Hate cars downtown
  • Love Bike lanes
  • Be a potted plant with no opinions contrary to David Hales

If this is you – Congratulations.





3 thoughts on “Coliseum, etc: Citizen theft

  1. So the potted plants listen to the staff that have to hire out for most all studies. Is there any surprise with the keystone cop scenario?

  2. Jack Snyder offered the land South of present location of the Coliseum , to build a Coliseum, Judy Markowitz ( mayor ) refused the offer, her father Sam Stern owned 4 parcels of properity where the coliseum now located ( in the TIF program ) sold to the city of Bloomington, and so the city was left with a fleecing !!

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