AFSCME’s Big, Fat Greek Contract

From Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives: As you are aware, agreements between the Executive Branch and labor unions representing state employees expired on June 30, 2015. The governor’s office has signed an extension until September 30, 2015 or whenever the parties reach an impasse in negotiations. This positive development allows additional time to reach agreement […]

Debt: Comparing Cities

By:  Diane Benjamin Since Mayor Transparency is comparing Bloomington to surrounding cities in an attempt to raise the Sales Tax, let’s compare debt. The chart below is from Bloomington’s Budget – Book 2 – Page 62 Part of this debt is for the NEVER used #5 Fire Station – see page 50 General Obligation […]

Tari Transparency

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari was on WJBC yesterday talking about the budget: He claims the City costs go up 2% every year, the County and Normal just increase taxes and its no big deal.  He wants the same powers. Tari and the interviewers agreed that government isn’t run like a business.  Nobody mentioned that maybe it […]

Taxes: How about the truth

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington is touting itself as having a lower Sales Tax rate than surrounding communities.  Of course, the reason for saying it is so they can raise theirs. Conveniently left out of the conversation is how many OTHER taxes each City has.  Let’s look at Champaign 1% City Sales Tax 1.5% Home Rule […]

Wasting time and bucks

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington is going to raise your taxes.  They can’t find cuts because everything they do is so vital to the City.  Sure. Let’s talk time. How many staff hours were WASTED on Paradigm?  Former Alderman Rob Fazzini was working behind the scenes to put the deal together before he resigned.  The legal expenses alone […]

Bernie Sanders: Destroying America

By:  Diane Benjamin He is a self admitted socialist with a populist message.  He thinks America has a 40 year history of destroying the middle class.  He wants to “invest” a trillion dollars over 5 years in infrastructure.  (What was the stimulus bill?)  He wants to “invest” $5.5 billion employing young people.  He want to end […]

Bloomington Budget cuts

By:  Diane Benjamin Union employees at Mitsubishi Motors accepted a pay cut years ago.  Why can’t City employees?  This link shows the salary and benefits for 2014:  Comparable to the private sector?  Since payroll is a LARGE part of City expenses, how badly do the current employees NOT want to be on the chopping block? […]

Ameren problems anyone?

By:  Diane Benjamin I frequently get tips from readers, I really appreciate it since I can’t be everywhere!  One note:  Don’t send me anonymous tips in the mail and think I am going to research your issue.  I need people willing to talk, I don’t have time for goose chases.  I’m also really good at […]

Guess what I found!

By:  Diane Benjamin If you attended Alderman Kevin Lower’s Town Hall, you know very few people spoke in favor of Renner’s agenda for downtown.  Two people who did support redevelopment own property downtown, including a parking lot by the Coliseum – Joe Haney and his wife. From Bills and Payroll to be approved tonight: Joe got […]

Budget Task Force: Places to look

By:  Diane Benjamin Expecting Renner’s hand-picked budget task force to find cuts is laughable, so here’s some help for them: Salaries make up the largest part of the budget, so obviously every job needs to be assessed for its contribution to the City.  Adding personnel in Administration just means employees discovering vital work to do that […]

Conflict of Interest?

By:  Diane Benjamin Alderman Amelia Buragus didn’t think she had a conflict of interest with votes to spend taxpayer money to redevelop downtown Bloomington, even though her dad owns property very close to the properties proposed. Michael Buragas, Amelia’s husband, works for Farnsworth Group, a frequent receiver of taxpayer funds: Is it a conflict of interest to […]

Prosecuting What?

By:  Diane Benjamin The former Allin Township Fire Chief (Standford) is being prosecuted for theft.  His name is Josh Deterding.  Allegations are he stole over $10,000.  I’ve been investigating and filing Freedom of Information Requests for documents for the last month.  Josh did reach out to me because he had no one who would listen […]

Bloomington’s Mosquito Farm

By:  Diane Benjamin Brady Homes did a subdivision off Fox Creek road called Fox Hollow.  Toward the rear of the subdivision is a retention basin  that is supposed to drain.  It doesn’t.  Brady failed to maintain it, thus the drain is clogged. In the Fall of 2014 the City of Bloomington accepted it from Brady, […]

Weekend fun – sort of

Good timing Patriots

By:  Diane Benjamin I was going to do a story to go along with this video.  In light of Mitsubishi closing, maybe the “Awakening” two veterans held last night in front of Tari Renner’s house speaks for itself.  Either Tari wasn’t home or he didn’t come outside.  This is only part of what they did, but […]

Normal property: NO APPRAISAL

By:  Diane Benjamin Earlier this week I wrote about the property Normal is planning to purchase and trade with ISU.  Reports show they plan to pay way over assessed value.  This isn’t the first time Normal has overpaid for properties. Mayor Chris Koos was on WGLT talking about the purchase and trade so Normal can obtain property […]

From INSIDE Mitsubishi UPDATE

By:  Diane Benjamin The plant held a meeting for employees at 9:00am this morning. From an employee AT the meeting: Am executive from Mitsubishi spoke – he was from Japan and hard to understand, but it looks like production will shut down by November. More info:  Production ends in November, the plant will shut down […]

June’s PCard Spending Fun

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is this month’s edition of Administration spending with a City debit card in your pocket.  See this link for the complete list of PCard spending – it’s at the end of Bills and Payroll. City Council Expenses Hilton Hotels $ 603.23 Business travel Mayor US Conference of Mayors City Council Expenses […]

This one isn’t good

Update here: By:  Diane Benjamin More on Mitsubishi: (Reuters) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp , faced with declining U.S. demand and an expiring union contract at its only plant in North America, declined to comment Thursday on a report that it planned to end auto production in this country. Japan’s Nikkei news service said […]

The FIX is in

By:  Diane Benjamin The Comprehensive Plan for Bloomington enjoyed overwhelming success in the Planning Commission meeting yesterday.  Of course it did, the end result was fixed from the beginning. One of the big supporters is Greg Koos – McLean County History Museum.  Others are Bike BloNo’s Michael Gorman and Downtown Bloomington Association Executive Director Tricia Stiller.  All believe […]

Bloomington: Developer gets freebies

By:  Diane Benjamin Attn:  Budget Task Force It is estimated McLean County Land Trust CC-1 currently owes the City  $562,194.78 in development fees.  Page 167 COMMUNITY GROUPS/INTERESTED PERSONS CONTACTED: Snyder Development From the packet APRIL 14, 2014 The parties are working together in good faith to resolve their differences, and believe that they should […]

A New Low

By:  Diane Benjamin An actual Pantagraph headline: New law could end benefits for dead people COULD end? COULD?!? The article was written by Kurt Erickson (Springfield dude) , so I don’t know if it was his title or the Pantagraph staff. We are in Illinois, land of the dead voting, surprised they get paid too? Indiana just […]

Meeting today-Planning Commission

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington Planning Commission is holding a meeting at 4:00 today in the Council Chambers.  There will be a Public Hearing on the Comprehensive Bloomington Plan put together by the Regional Planning Commission. Nice of them to hold a meeting when most people are still at work! Claims will be made that […]

More Coliseum spending!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last week the Bloomington City Council voted to buy new scoreboards for the Coliseum.  They were deceived into thinking the purchase was put up for competitive bidding. Nobody on the Council brought it up last Monday night when John Butler and Bart Rogers made a presentation to the Council.  Does anyone […]

Coliseum: Proof

By:  Diane Benjamin Evidently David Hales, Tari Renner, and John Butler think I can’t prove concessions need to be audited at the Coliseum.  Maybe this will help them out.  Click on the picture, it’s easier to read if it’s bigger: The above was internally prepared at the Coliseum.  John Butler is supposed to pay the City […]

Coliseum: The joke’s on YOU

By:  Diane Benjamin The Coliseum was NEVER going to cost citizens a dime, at least that’s what citizens were told. Consultants predicted Revenues of more than $7,000,000 and large attendance at events.  Income was projected to be $2,319,000 a year.  See predictions here:  Consultant: Hyman Review NOTHING predicted has come close to being true. Last […]

Normal: Do friends of government prosper?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal wants a new fire station.  Too bad Bloomington can’t give them the multi-million dollar one they built years ago and have never used. Now Normal is swapping properties so they can build where they want the new station. I reported extensively on Uptown properties way back in 2012.  Many properties were […]

Ban consultants-save bucks

By:  Diane Benjamin What does the City of Bloomington Admin staff do?  How many are there?  I hear people are tripping over each other, maybe a lot of them are interns – but what do they do? Tonight yet ANOTHER consultant is going to report to the City:  (from the bird-cage liner)  Raftelis Financial Consultants […]

Pantagraph deceives citizens AGAIN

By:  Diane Benjamin Maybe the local reporters aren’t very smart.  Maybe the City is writing the articles for them.  Either way, the result is to make sure citizens never know the truth. Today the Pantagraph did it again. Instead of reporting the AUDITED LOSS from last year, reporter Maria Nagle used the number CIAM reported – […]

Hales: Bid golf, not Coliseum

By:  Diane Benjamin News flash:  Bloomington City Manager David Hales will put the sale of 3 golf courses out to bid if the budget task force recommends selling them.  He will seek “proposals from golf management companies with an established track record of success”. Meanwhile, 2 guys with a track record of failure are renegotiating […]

It’s a SPENDING problem

By:  Diane Benjamin I found this chart in the 2012 Bloomington Budget:  Page 114 Since the City of Bloomington can’t print money, expenditures should have been close to revenue.  I do remember they got into trouble by dipping into reserves though.  I wonder where that “recession” that caused the City to slash jobs was?  […]

Weekend Fun – sort of

Things that don’t fit anywhere else . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday night – 6:30 – in front of City Hall.  Meet up with April Huber to protest the direction of the City of Bloomington.  She will reveal plans for phase two – but ONLY to the people there.  Infiltrators will be identified, so I suggest you don’t try it. Now that the […]

Monday Night: Coliseum!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council is holding a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night.  The June Committee of the Whole meeting was NOT live streamed or video taped.  Transparency?  NOPE.  That means, you better attend! John Butler and Bart Rogers from CIAM are scheduled to proclaim the greatness of what they have […]

Can we call this FRAUD?

By:   Diane Benjamin Monday night the City Council approved buying new video board equipment for the Coliseum – $1,389,605 before interest accrues from borrowing the money.  The documentation and discussion claimed the purchase was competitively bid because a group called The Cooperative Purchase Network was used for the purchase.  The documentation given to the […]

Coliseum: NOT obligated!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last Monday the Bloomington City Council voted to BORROW around $1.5 MILLION to buy video equipment for the Coliseum.  Only Aldermen Scott Black and Kevin Lower voted against it.  Karen Schmidt got out of the vote because she was acting mayor in Renner’s absence. Alderman Joni Painter evidently didn’t do her homework […]

Not so Green Energy

By:  Diane Benjamin This turbine is on Leroy-Lexington black top, just south of Route 9.  All those black spots are fossil fuels! Livingston County will be voting again on a new wind farm.  A YES vote is a vote to kill birds and throw oil in fields.  A YES votes means tax payers will be […]

David Hales misleads WJBC

By:  Diane Benjamin City Manager David Hales was on WJBC with Scott Laughlin yesterday.  The interview is the perfect example of the media not forcing the truth from a City official.  Maybe Scott didn’t know what questions to ask.  You can listen to the interview here: Yes, it’s painful, but the part that interested […]

2 more things from last nights meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council voted to give up $100,000 last night to pretend they are helping the environment. Where is that money going? All I heard was it goes to people promoting wind and solar.  Like Solyndra?  Campaign contributors who collect big bucks on government contracts? The Council didn’t think that part was important […]

Why citizens don’t trust Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin I want to compliment Alderman Buragus for her remarks regarding Public Comment.  She wants consistency meeting to meeting, not sometimes the 15 minutes is extended and sometimes it’s not.  Nice point. Just when you think the Council might be listening to citizens, somebody at the City EDITS the video from last night. […]

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