Butler GONE, quite a show

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from reliable sources that John Butler and crew are gone from the Coliseum as of today. I also hear he was busy shredding documents.  Police were present, but I have no idea why.  City officials were present yesterday. What was Butler paid for the 10-year-old fully depreciated concession equipment? The […]

In Honor of Tari’s re-election bid:

By:  Diane Benjamin The Total Budget Tari inherited in 2013:  $167 million http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=7074 Tari’s first budget – 2014:  $169.4 million http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=7073 2015 Budget:  $180.4 million http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=6501 2016 Budget: $186.3 million http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=8220 Proposed 2017 Budget:  206.9 million (Evidently the stacked Council is going to pass it as is) http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=9844 Spending increased $39.9 million in 4 years! […]

Allin Fire – Say What?

By:  Diane Benjamin See what the Allin Fire Protection District reported to the State of Illinois here for the year ended 5/30/2015:  http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ProcessSearchResults.cfm?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Revenues&Code=064/010/06&CFY=2015&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No The link shows Revenues of $208,281 It shows Expenses of $203,005 _________________ According to this document:  Allin Fire Revenues were $238,906.88 (including a $45,000 operating loan) Expenses were $237,647.56 Neither number is […]

Guilty: Violating the Open Meetings Act

By:  Diane Benjamin This was on the Consent Agenda for last Monday’s meeting:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9534 Many old minutes are approved at meetings like this.  Alderman not on the council when the meetings took place are approving minutes YEARS after the meetings. What’s the law? 30 days or the next meeting! The Bloomington City Council is GUILTY […]

The IML scam

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner and David Hales love to tout the greatness of the Illinois Municipal League.  From the IML website: The Illinois Municipal League is the formal voice for Illinois municipalities. The League was founded in 1913 and has worked continuously for the benefit of municipalities, promoting competence and integrity in administration of […]

Remember “downtown won’t cost . . .”

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Renner has claimed many times downtown development won’t cost taxpayers a cent up front.  Monday the consultant gets a check however.  See the 3/28/2016 Bills and Payroll http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 It isn’t a cent – it’s $41,625.75 Page 91: More Payments: $25,000 to Chicago Title for the land purchased on Main Street earlier […]

County: $50,000,000+ in reserves

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when I wrote about the County Board raising your property taxes?  http://blnnews.com/2016/03/10/zero-transparency-mclean-county/ Before the vote another vote was taken that would have mandated using some of the reserves instead of raising taxes.  The comments by some Board members to protect their “savings account” show how little respect they have for taxpayers.  […]

It’s the Lies – too many of them

By:  Diane Benjamin Repeat lies often enough and either some people will believe them – or somebody might check the facts! Let’s check some facts! David Hales and the Coliseum management like to spout economic impact numbers.  If accurate, the City should be swimming in all the new revenue created by the amazing gift thrust […]

How do we get a real newspaper?

By:  Diane Benjamin Today’s story:  Chamber of Commerce declares “There Are Jobs Out There”. Sure.  Fast food, retail, and jobs with 10 years experience required doing things nobody has every heard of. The average family income isn’t dropping because opportunities abound!  http://blnnews.com/2016/03/14/bloomington-what-citizens-need-to-know/ McLean County – Median household income 2014: $60,460 2000: $67,873 Percent change: -11% […]

Brave citizens

By:  Diane Benjamin In America citizens should be able to speak out against their government.  Since “We The People” is rapidly disappearing as government grows bigger and bigger and the media fails to hold government accountable, it’s rare to see citizens with something to lose stand up against oppression. A group of Bloomington business owners […]

Why Bloomington taxes went up

By:  Diane Benjamin The below is from the actual information the City of Bloomington submitted to the State of Illinois:  http://tinyurl.com/hja4y6k When spending is $22 million more than revenue, of course they have to steal more! This is for the year ended April 30, 2015.  It takes them a LONG time to release the information. […]

Jan City Managers report-TAXES

By:  Diane Benjamin David Hales finally finished the January 2016 City Managers Report:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=9539 Attendance at the BCPA was dismal, but I guess that can be expected for January: The most interesting part of the report is tax receipts – see page 19.  Except for Auto Rental, all other taxes are above projections.  The additional […]

It’s about control

By:  Diane Benjamin Illinois Comptroller, Leslie Munger, posted this video on Facebook recently.  I guess she assumes everybody is on Facebook, if you can’t see it and aren’t on Facebook, that’s why. It’s a devastating look at Illinois finances.  Bloomington is right behind Illinois now.  Buying votes with projects citizens don’t want, control development, and […]


By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Tari Renner made a BIG deal about the Not In Our Town pledge in December 2014, then violated it a few months later with his rant on this site:  http://blnnews.com/2015/02/11/tari-attacks-me-again-not-in-our-town/ Evidently the yearly pledge drive is dead, or maybe they just don’t ask Tari to participate anymore.  They were MIA […]

The County (not available) spending

By:  Diane Benjamin Total spending by vendor is NOT available on the County website.  This means nobody at the County really knows where taxpayer money is spent! Numerous committees approve their own bills for payment.  The only place we can see them is by month and by committee.  NO totals – even by committee.  The […]

More non-profit fun: ISU

By:  Diane Benjamin If you are an ISU graduate I’m sure you’ve received fundraising calls from the ISU Foundation. As a non-profit organization, they have to file public tax forms.  See them here:  http://nccsweb.urban.org/communityplatform/nccs/organization/profile/id/376025713/popup/1 I’ve only looked at the first one listed-2014.   Compensation must be disclosed – see the page below (Page 8 of the […]

Normal’s TIF debt

By:  Diane Benjamin As Bloomington decides to blanket the City with TIF Districts, let’s look at the Town of Normal.  They have FIVE! First a little review.  TIF’s create money for the City without any over-site.  The City Council will never be asked where to spend this money – it’s comes from keeping taxes generated […]

Segobiano Charity: FACTS

By:  Diane Benjamin McLean County Board member Paul Segobiano has a charity organization called Great Plains Life Foundation Inc. See the website here:  http://www.greatplainslifefoundation.org/ It looks like a noble effort to help kids stay in school. Check out the Board of Directors page:  http://www.greatplainslifefoundation.org/Board_of_Directors.html The page lists names you might know like Bloomington Police Chief […]

Connect the dots

By:  Diane Benjamin Two months in a row Renner bought former Alderman Rob Fazzini lunch:  http://blnnews.com/2015/10/23/september-eating-at-your-expense/ For new readers, when Fazzini was an Alderman he created lots of news by saying things like “A gas tax doesn’t raise the price of gas”.  http://blnnews.com/2014/01/27/culture-tales-bloomington-council-retreat/ Fazzini was also behind the failed attempts for Modified Wards and Paradigm […]

Kirk Brothers: conflict?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington voted to buy property on North Main Street last night so they can control what happens there. This is who owns the property now: Is Tim Kirk the same guy who contributed to Renner for Mayor in 2013: http://tinyurl.com/zmmbyhz The addresses don’t match, but 1010 Old Farm Rd […]

Bloomington Taxpayers liable

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course the Bloomington City Council passed everything Tari Renner wanted last night.  It’s all going to be great.  Public Comment was stacked with former officials and friends of government who proclaimed the $1,400,000 land purchase brilliant, the east side TIF brilliant, and the downtown hotel brilliant.  Except for the one guy […]

Bloomington: What citizens need to know

By:  Diane Benjamin Transparency must be dead: No Coliseum reports have been posted on-line since 4/30/15.  (Meanwhile the media is instructed to report false information about real losses) City Manager Monthly Reports haven’t been posted since December 2015. Sewer rates will increase: This is from the Budget Work Session for 2017. Providing the sanitary sewer […]

Tari: Think outside the box

By:  Diane Benjamin Practically since Tari became mayor, the citizens have been told the Front and Center building can’t be saved.  Now Jeff Giebelhausen thinks it can be a hotel. Here’s the problems: Hotels and convention centers are a dime a dozens.  Spend time on Google and see all the failures. Bloomington has convention centers:  […]

Your Monday bills Bloomington:

By: Diane Benjamin On Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 HR and the Water department needed more auditing?  Sikich did the City audits. Consultants: Only $47,000+ US Conference of Mayors?!? Pantagraph: only $9300+ Yeah! Bike Trails. Remember SLBB?  (Sick Leave Buy Back)  Remember how they were going to fix it? . .    

TIFs explained

By:  Diane Benjamin Did you know Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was outlawed in California? Way too much money was going to developers and campaign contributors and costing taxpayers money – so they were outlawed.  (Note:  California!) Bloomington wants one on the east side, one downtown, and it’s unclear if the downtown TIF would expand to […]