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 money to consultants, local groups who think they create it, and education for the one Economic Development employee.

These three items are listed in the 2017 budget outside the Economic Development category:




       Assistant to the City Mgr


Steve Rasmussen
Austin Grammer
Asst to the City Mgr

Page 487  FY 2017 Budget Detail

TOTAL Economic Development 2 ,683,206.28

1 employee:  Total cost:  $100,937.00  (including benefits and parking)

Annual access fee to the SitesUSA “REGIS On-Line” web application.  Web-based tool for demographic research and mapping to support retailer
attraction efforts and to support property owners / commercial real estate brokers.

Economic Development Consulting Services & Studies as Needed. Project-based evaluation related to incentive requests City-wide and specifically in
Downtown Bloomington and in the proposed Empire Street Corridor Redevelopment Project Area. Outside legal support for drafting incentive agreements. Studies necessary to create TIF Districts, SSA, BID, etc. to support economic development efforts. (In prior years the City contracted with the National Development Council on an annual basis for $60,000 for ongoing ED support – that amount is now grouped into this budget line).

BNEDC Community Leaders Event

ECON DEV Marketing Expense 28,000.00
ECON DEV Membership Dues 1,550.00
ECON DEV Rebates 30,000.00  (Ashley Furniture)

ECON DEV To Town of Normal $1,240,000.00

Metro Zone Revenue Sharing Agreement between the Town of Normal and the City of Bloomington.  50% of all revenues from the Metro Zone paid to the City
are to be shared with the Town (Property Tax, Utility Tax, Sales Taxes, etc.).
Projection for FY17 is based on prior years.


ECON DEV To Downtown Business Funding for the Downtown Bloomington Association (DBA) at the discretion of the City Council.  The DBA is a not-for-profit membership-based organization
representing business and property owners, and residents to enhance the vitality and livability of Downtown Bloomington. Bloomington’s Farmers’ Market
is managed by the DBA.

$475,000.00 – EDC
Funding for the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at the discretion of the City Council.
A 6% Hotel/Motel tax is levied by the City of Bloomington. The City uses 4% of the tax to support infrastructure maintenance and 2% helps fund the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

McLean County Museum of History -Capital Campaign $50,000

McLean County Museum of History-Annual Contribution

BNEDC One Voice

(Registration, Airfare, Meals, Lodging).
One Voice, under the leadership of the BNEDC, is a pro-community campaign that brings together leaders from the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, McLean County, labor, local educational institutions and local private businesses. Each spring, the One Voice Task Force travels to Washington D.C. to meet with a congressional delegation to discuss community issues involving projects, initiatives and infrastructure improvements.  For those projects needing funding, meeting are held with the federal agencies that may have grants or funds available.

The ultimate goal of One Voice is to engage federal representatives and to obtain federal funding for the B-N community. One Voice does not lobby for policy for regulatory change and is not affiliated with any political party, movement or policy organization.

(Did Normal’s credibility take a hit when they went to DC a day earlier this year to lobby for their own projects?)

ICSC RECon – May 22-25, 2016 – Las Vegas, NV (Registration, Airfare, Meals, Lodging).
RECon is the global convention for the shopping center industry and provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate
professionals from around the world.

ICSC Regional Meetings (Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield, Indianapolis) – (Registration, Meals, Lodging).
Examples: ICSC Day at the Capitol, ICSC Central IL Luncheon, ICSC Downstate IL Lunch, ICSC Chicago Retail Connection, ICSC Chicago Deal Making, ICSC Heartland Idea Exchange (Dates and locations to be announced).

Illinois Tax Increment Association Spring & Fall Conferences (Registration, Meals, Lodging).

Local meetings of the BNEDC and Chamber of Commerce BNEDC Bloomington-Normal By The Numbers, Chamber Breakfast Business Briefs, etc.


Continuing Education and Professional Development courses offered by regional and national economic development and real estate organizations
(Tuition, Fees, Travel, Lodging).

One question:

What should Mitsubishi Parkway’s name be changed to?  Right now they are getting free advertising.

I’m offering FEZ Parkway.  Guess what it stands for, think Economic Development.  Any other ideas?

13 thoughts on “Pretending to create success

  1. Thanks for this. Looks like legitimate government functions.

    ISU has s solid business school. Try ECON 101 and 102.

    You will learn how government spending comes back to us at a return of about 40%.


    Sent from my iPhone


    1. ECON 101 and 102 are not taught through the College of Business at ISU. They run through the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics. All that usual city business seems awful costly. Maybe if citizens were paying such high taxes and fees they could put more of their money into The Econmy. Would that be Economic Development?

    2. If Tom is not anything else he is consistent. Of course he is a consistent thorn in the paw of clear thinking and hard working citizens. Two groups he is obviously not a member of. Tom thinks the government knows better of what to do with peoples money than those who earn it. Again, of course Tom is wrong and this city is full of over priced, under attended, failing ventures to prove it.

  2. Misubishi Parkway is fine, they provided good jobs for almost 30 years. Otherwise call it Renner Railroaded the People Fast Lane gets my vote.

  3. With all of this economic research and investment the economy should be booming here. All I see are low paying jobs and streets that are in poor condition.

    I have a friend who just retired from State Farm and they are considering moving because the taxes here are too high. I can’t blame them for selling and moving. I told them now is the time to bail out because the number of eligible buyers will be getting thinner in the years to come. Almost no one can find good employment around here anymore. He has been to several city council meetings and he thinks they are a bunch of idiots running this city.

    Mitsubishi Pkwy they should rename as Lost Jobs Pkwy. Really something to remember seeing all of those cars parked in the lots out there that were made and now all you see is empty grassy and weedy lots.

  4. The government has no business supporting not-for-profit groups. The Capital Campaign for the McLean County Museum is $50,000.00/yr for the next 5 years for a total of $250,000. Add to that the $20,000.00 Annual contribution and the cost of the Visitors Center. The $90,000/yr for DBA. The “DBA is a not-for-profit membership-based organization representing (Downtown) business and property owners, and (Downtown) residents to enhance the vitality and livability of Downtown Bloomington.” The City’s financial support for the DBA was to discontinue at least a decade ago. Membership is voluntary. Why should those living and working downtown want to pay dues if the government will provide for them?
    These totals are for only one department, ED –1% of the budget — seem insignificant but when combined with other Administrative Department expenses, the amount adds up quickly.

  5. If the DBA gets $90,000 a year, shouldn’t all other neighborhood associations? Really there is no difference. Just folks wanting their neighborhood to look nicer.

    1. Ha! There are some associations where the management or developer don’t even abide by city ordinance or do proper maintenance even though ALL residents pay mandatory dues. Think Snyder and Brady.

  6. The point being about the $90K to the DBA is that is a bunch of organizations started asking for like money based on what the DBA gets, the city might just have to say no to everyone including the DBA.

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