The taxpayers of Normal seem to be waking up! This story has MANY reads because you are sharing it! Keep it up and I will do more investigating in Normal.
I bet one reader was surprised by my reporting on United Way. It is a total coincidence that your letter arrived today and I wrote this story yesterday. That person will understand – the rest of you will when Normal answers my latest FOIA request. Thanks.
No, I have nothing against United Way, I do have a problem with taxpayer money being used to promote a charity. Government has no right to steal your hard-earned money to fund anything but government.
By: Diane Benjamin
I looked at the expenses approved on 10/17/16 at the Normal Council meeting. See the list here: http://normal.org/Archive.aspx?AMID=48&Type=Recent
Several things looked strange, so I filled a FOIA request for more information. This is what I received: normal-foia Parts of it are barely legible.
All of these expenses are related to United Way – $804.38. I’d like to see the law that makes it legal to spend taxpayer dollars on a charity. Think donations don’t affect votes? Is Normal buying votes with your tax dollars?
The next one is Thunder tickets and birthday cards. The FOIA refers to “employee activity”. I hope employees W-2’s reflect this “additional compensation” of Thunder tickets. See page 15. Then flip to page 17. They spent $499.54 on 400 birthday cards.
Azavar is listed as a Utility Audit. See page 19. It looks like an audit of electricity and gas expense at various locations. Azavar apparently saved the City $5,162.19 a month, so they get 45% of that amount. Since usage pikes and falls depending on the weather, that would take more investigating. The original audits took place in 2013 and 2014. Prices have dropped since then, but it looks like Normal is locked into payments for another 17 months for the three audits in 2014. On the 2013 audit, they only have 5 payments left.
Entertainment isn’t cheap – Theater:
Lastly, trips organized by Parks and Rec. See pages 20-22. The FOIA doesn’t say if all the tickets purchased were sold.
The private sector is cut out of entertainment in Normal. Government provides it at taxpayer expense.