Normal’s Economic Development Exposed

By:  Diane Benjamin

Chris Koos recently spoke at a “State of McLean County” event.    See the newspaper story HERE

Koos thinks his job is reducing economic inequity, delivering opportunity, social equity and sustainability.

If his claims were true, the Council wouldn’t be set to raise property taxes to fill holes in their budget.

Stealing more money from citizens crushes opportunity and increases housing rent which makes income inequality even worse.

The below is from the BUDGET for the year beginning 4/1/2017.

Note the title:  Contract Payments – Developer Rebates.  This is how much the Town budgeted for developer kickbacks, but it doesn’t include any new schemes.

Total budgeted:  480,000 + 250,000 + 218,500 + 100,000 = $1,048,500

Besides that spending, the budget claims Normal has an Economic Development Director on staff:  (PDF page 102)

The obvious question is how much does the Econ Director earn?

It must be a secret!

See this link:

The link recap salaries and benefits paid by Department.


one department is missing!



All the departments are listed except Administration!  Why is that?  Because it’s scary high numbers?

Normal does have a Master List of all employees:

The below are from that list, but one is missing:  Economic Development Director.  That title isn’t listed on the Master List.

This page claims the Admin staff does Economic Development:

Maybe that explains why a developer the Town likes to work with got $1,825,000 plus interest for Portillos.

Since Administration was left off the Department List, the below shows what the ones I could find earn in TOTAL compensation.  Click each pic to enlarge.


TOTAL compensation just for these 5 people is $759,515.

Looks like we know where “economic inequity” originates.


14 thoughts on “Normal’s Economic Development Exposed

  1. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s Pravdagraph has a front page story about the opening of One Uptown Circle. This property was sold to Tartan for $1 by the town of Normal. It’s set to open next month with tenants who want to RENT a luxury apartment for $4,200 a month and the rest of the space will of course be used as office space for Normal town employees. Lots of tax dollars flowing back into the local economy out of this deal. Not! Rent checks are going to Tarten, an out of town developer and the renters are not stuck paying higher property taxes. When the bottom finally falls out in Uptown, the tenants can easily pull out. They have no skin in the game. Just the rent money they flushed down to toliet to an out of town developer who is far too cozy with the town of Normal.

      1. Portillo’s, The Flats, and the Hyatt to name a few. As for the Hyatt, according to the Pravdagraph, “The hotel’s owners requested a $264,000 tax rebate this summer to make up for poor business that was later withdrawn.”

        Maybe ISU can eventually use the space as a dormitory.

  2. OMG! 4200 a month in this little town? My daughter has an apartment in downtown Chicago in Greek town. I thought 2500 a month was a lot. They’ve got to be out of their mind. That’s close to what they pay on the Gold Coast area in Chicago. KOO KOO

    1. $4200/mo is for a 3 bedroom with balcony on the top floor. There are only two and apparently are already rented

  3. So Pritzker is a owner of Tartan? Does mayor Koos own the bicycle shop? If so, is this why sweet Tari is so big on the crazy bike paths we have around State Farm? Gee, the dumb following the corrupt…

  4. It’s all just one putrid little swamp isn’t it? But then Chicago has always been that way and the “powers that be” and have been for quite a while here in BloNo want to be “Little Chicago” so bad they can taste it – including the high rents – They are almost like children playing pretend – too bad the money they use is REAL money, our money.

  5. B-N seems like is being turned into a mini-Shitcago. Ugh! My hometown is being turned into a marxist/socialist nightmare!!!

  6. Uptown is a disaster in the making! The downturn at State Farm and the decline in undergrad enrollment at ISU will eventually lead to business closures. That doesn’t make the bond payouts disappear. The Hyatt is barely making it by as it is. Wonder what Koos gave or promised the Hyatt to withdraw their request for a financial lifeline. Overall, developers own both towns. Everything business and/or economic development seems to have to go through city/town hall first. Kiss the ring and pledge your allegiance to big government. Who in their right mind would relocate or grow their business in Bloomington-Normal?! Maybe the trough feeders at the EDC and BN Advantage can explain to us.

    1. I could not agree more. Yes, let’s have the EDC and BN Advantage tell the people of this town the reality of what lies ahead, who has really been calling the shots here and who has benefited. As our main economic drivers begin to wither and die, the taxpayers are stuck with the huge bills and boondoggles brought to us by our city/developer mafia class. They will walk away with plenty of money while the ordinary people who live and work here will have to struggle to survive.

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