Tari: “I know the future”

By:  Diane Benjamin Citizens have forgotten history.  Getting away from repressive government is why people took a treacherous journey by boat across an ocean to get here.  It’s why they fought a war to found a new country.  They wanted to be free. Free to practice the religion of their choice. Free to govern themselves. […]

Budgeted consultants

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are some consulting items I’ve found in the 2017 Detailed Budget:  FY 2017 Budget Detail There are others in Water Admin and Engineering that I didn’t post.  Some items do require consultants. ________________________ ANNUAL COUNCIL RETREAT FACILITATOR SERVICES – $25,000.00 DEPARTMENT HEAD RETREAT FACILITATOR SERVICES – $12,000.00 LYNN MONTEI ASSOCIATES – […]

Tax recap – by request

By: Diane Benjamin A reader asked me yesterday to list all the taxes Bloomington charges, so I will.  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=142 The current total local sales tax rate in Bloomington, IL is 8.750%. Sales Tax Breakdown District Rate Illinois State 6.250% McLean County 0.000% Bloomington 2.500% Total   8.750% Sales tax was increase 1% as of January 1st […]

More questionable Budget

By:  Diane Benjamin See the detailed budget here:  FY 2017 Budget Detail  The document can be searched – if you want more information on any item Click Edit – Find and type the exact words in the Search Box. This looks like more signs pointing downtown: Wayfinding signage – adding  $100,000 More consultants: Downtown Parking […]

You missed this Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin Either the media fell asleep during last Monday’s Council meeting or they didn’t report this on purpose.  A presentation was made by the Fire Chief – this was included: Public Safety has been very high on citizen’s priority lists for City spending.  This one graphic is MILLIONS of dollars with millions more […]

Fleecing where you don’t notice

By:  Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal hesitate to raise property tax rates because citizens will notice.  They can keep the rate level and collect more just by increasing  the assessed value of your home.   Illinois has the highest property taxes in the country, if the cities cared their rates would decrease every year because […]

Pretending to create success

By:  Diane Benjamin Government in this country has never created prosperity.  Every dollar they spend they stole from people who worked for it.  Capitalism requires government to get out of the way so individuals can create their own success – or fail on their own. Bloomington government believes they can create economic development by throwing […]

Internet Back – Sad for the City!

By:  Diane Benjamin I remember listening to David Hales on WJBC talking about Bloomington’s budget.  He lamented everything possible had already been cut.  Any more cuts wouldn’t be fat or meat – it would be bone. Well, a citizen took it on himself to get a DETAILED line item budget.  Thanks Bruce Meeks.  The Council […]

Developers don’t have to pay

By: Diane Benjamin I still don’t have internet – worse no expected day, month, or year it will be fixed.  Posts will be limited or non-existent until it’s repaired. Previously Snyder owed the City of Bloomington over $5 MILLION in development fees. Has he paid the bill? I really doubt it! At tonight’s Council meeting […]

The promised Surprise:

By:  Diane Benjamin The sub-title for BlnNews is News Nobody Reports.  Citizens are tired of getting news from government sponsored sources who never express independent thoughts or do any investigations. I can prove it.  Today BlnNews crossed ONE MILLION page views: Obviously a lot of people want real news.  Are you willingly to help keep […]

More eating at your expense:

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 Is Tari doing “working/business lunches” by himself now? . City Council Exp  Paypal Bn Mclp $ 250.00  MCLP Graduation Celeb S.Rasmussen, Mayor & Council City Council Exp Monicals Pizza $ 140.30 French student exchange luncheon with T.Renner City Council Exp Station 220 Inc $ 47.50 […]

NORMAL (again)

By:  Diane Benjamin For all new readers, back in 2012 I studied how Normal acquired all the properties for Uptown.  I included how many they bought and how many properties they GAVE away.  This is one recap:  https://blnnews.com/2012/07/03/who-gave-normal-permission-to-buy-give-away-properties/ According to the bird-cage-liner, Normal is still at it.  The Town bought three properties on North School […]

Bloomington made the Huffington Post

By:  Diane Benjamin The title of the HuffPo story is:  11 Amazing Cities You’ve Never Thought To Live In, But Should See it here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/best-cities-to-live_us_57323904e4b096e9f092f4b0 The story claims Bloomington has “affordable rent”. Didn’t the League of Women Voters just do an analysis that claimed rent wasn’t affordable?  Isn’t there a lot of talk about needing […]

More Crony capitalism in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Friends of government and preferred community investors always get a break.  Normal doesn’t care that everybody else pays more so they can give breaks to people/groups/companies they approve of. Private investment flees when free market competition doesn’t exist.  Why invest when government works against you by providing freebies to competitors? Many people […]

Buragas not Renner’s pet anymore?

By:  Diane Benjamin At the May 9th Council meeting Alderman Buragas went into a long speech about the Hales review process, but then voted yes to his raise anyway.  Her speech seemed out-of-place unless she was going to vote against the increase. Last night she voted against the TIF feasibility study.  I don’t know why […]

Normal: Sick of your government yet?

By:  Diane Benjamin I rarely write about Normal because the citizens never get outraged.  What does it take?  Bankruptcy? Tonight: Chris Koos had to know the Mitsubishi plant was already sold to a liquidator, but took a trip funded by you to Germany anyway: Hope the Council enjoyed eating at your expense:   Do residents […]

OOPS! Explain please Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Thanks to a reader who pointed this out to me!  Around 1/3 of my stories are tips from readers, I REALLY appreciate it. FY 2016 Adopted Budget Book 1-Budget Overview & General Fundd The below is from Book One Budget Document on the City Website:  (including the spelling)  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=8220 Note it’s 2016 […]

Update: VenueWorks: What happened?

I received this response from the Executive Director: Diane, I can certainly agree the lines for concessions last night was unacceptable.  No excuse.  Customers will see remarkable change for the better at the next show – Rob Zombie. On the sound, I had not heard any complaints. Curtis Webb By:  Diane Benjamin The first big […]

A MADIGAN sued by Watchdogs

By:  Diane Benjamin The Edgar County Watchdogs have filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Arts Council Agency headed by Shirley Madigan – wife of Speaker Mike Madigan and mother of AG Lisa Madigan. The suit accuses IACA of violating the Freedom of Information Act.  See the documents here:  2016-MR-23-1 The Liberty Justice Center is representing […]

Bloomington got lucky – for now (kidding)

No – you aren’t safe.  Evidently everybody can’t attend, so they changed the meeting from Committee of the Whole to Special Meeting.   By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor-Developer Renner just can’t stop creating his version of utopia in Bloomington.  He’s the king of paying people (with your money) to create economic development.  The local, state, and […]