By: Diane Benjamin
BN Advantage was formed in 2015. Their mission is to get all the players together for collaboration on economic development strategy.
The Bloomington Council approved the formation in October 2015, see this doc: BN Advantage I’m sure other area governments passed the same type resolution.
Temporarily forget the fact that government doesn’t create anything, it only takes your money to fulfill whatever it wishes. (Theft)
The documentation says BN Advantage was created by the Convention and Visitors Bureau(CVB), The Economic Development Council(EDC), The Chamber of Commerce, Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA), and the Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC). Obviously local city and County governments are involved too, we just don’t know to what extent. It’s a secret.
See the BN Advantage website here: https://www.bnadvantage.com/
Who paid for it? It’s a secret since there is no identifying information on the site.
A contact form can be submitted, but it doesn’t say who is getting the message: https://www.bnadvantage.com/contact-us/
The CVB, EDC, CIRA, and MCRPC all get taxpayer money. If the EDC has to comply with OMA and FOIA law, they are really bad at doing so. Their website has no applicable information.
The Below is from the Open Meetings Act (OMA) law, Sect 1.02: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) uses the same description for “Public Bodies”.
It’s pretty hard to claim the EDC shouldn’t also be declared a “Public Body” and therefore subject to OMA and FOIA, they get lots of tax revenue.
It’s even more of a reach to not expect BN Advantage to be subject to FOIA and OMA since it was founded by groups and supported by governments that are subject to both!
- We have no idea who is running BN Advantage
- We have no idea where their funding comes from
- We have no idea what projects they are working on
- BN Advantage isn’t listening to citizens since citizens don’t know who they are
Here’s the elephant in the room:
Was BN Advantage formed to create a “regional” unaccountable agencies for local projects? Bloomington will NEVER live down building the White Elephant Coliseum, Normal has the same problem with Uptown.
Was BN Advantage created so no one Council or Board will be blamed for things like a huge sports complex that never breaks even?
Consensus by big government and related organizations is easy. They can make it look like everybody is on board. Keep in mind that most of these boards are run by representatives of local government, so consensus already exists. Also keep in mind that we have no idea who is running BN Advantage.
We should know, but this is Illinois where laws for government officials rarely matter and offenders are rarely held accountable.
Maybe that explains why Illinois is now the WORST place to be a taxpayer: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/2416/#red-vs-blue