By: Diane Benjamin
Did you know Bloomington didn’t have an Economic Development person until 2012? Are things better or worse now?
From 2016 Total Compensation report: http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=5443
GRAMMERAUSTIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COORD
Salary and benefits: $94,583.89
Where do some of your tax dollars go? UN-accountable government agencies!
- The EDC (Economic Development Council) is getting $490,000 in the new budget. They got $100,000 last year
- The Downtown Bloomington Association is getting $90,000. Same as last year even though they were expected to fund themselves YEARS ago.
- BN Advantage is getting $390,000. I couldn’t find them in the 2016 budget as a line item.
- Convention and Visitors Bureau is getting $545,000. Celebrate! They lost $5,000 from last year.
- McLean County Regional Planning Commission is getting $60,000
- The Ecology Action Center gets money shoveled to them, no line item.
- The Route 66 Visitors Bureau/History Museum gets money too, I can’t find a line item
These agencies are either mostly or totally dependent on government funding (not just from Bloomington), but none can be FOIA’d for how the money is spent. They don’t issue audited financial statements and are therefore unaccountable for how money is spent. It also makes it easier to hide costs – like the One Voice trip to DC. Bloomington, Normal, and the County funnel money to the EDC. The EDC pays for the trip which means you paid for it, but you never know the cost.
Here’s $1,575,000 taxpayers are supposed to believe is in their best interests. No proof of where it’s spent, no trail to follow, and no justification.
Is Bloomington better off or worse?
Here’s some of the money the EAC has received since 1/1/16: (I got bored looking)
$ 988.21 EAC prizes for 1/30/15 Events
$ 49.75 EAC – Winter Event
$ 177.73 EAC – Winter Event
$ 269.34 January EAC Event Items
$ 631.39 January EAC Event Items
$ 511.90 January EAC Event Items
$ 35.15 January EAC Event Items
$ 570.64 January EAC Event Items
$ 254.00 Items for the EAC Event
ECOLOGY ACTION CENTER INV 04/11/2016
Invoice Net 13,186.00
L. Consideration of approving a two-year agreement with the Ecology Action Center for a Bloomington-Normal Community Energy Strategic Plan. (Recommend that the Agreement with the Ecology Action Center for a Bloomington-Normal Community Energy Strategic Plan in the amount of $9,310 annually for two (2) years for a total of $18,620 be approved, and the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized to execute the necessary documents.)
F. Consideration of an approving a two year Agreement with the Ecology Action Center (EAC) for Energy Efficiency Programing. (Recommend that the Agreement with the Ecology Action Center (EAC) for Energy Efficiency Programs in the amount of $39,031 per year over two (2) years be approved, and the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized to execute the necessary documents.)