Normal – crashing!

By:  Diane Benjamin

Besides the final payments for Koos, Reece, and Aldrich to party in Washington DC at One Voice, questionable frivolous spending is down for Monday’s meeting.

These items are contracted, so Normal can’t say now they made bad decisions:

Why is Normal handing out down payment assistance?  Vote buying?


Now this is funny:

PDF page 46

The Town Council just passed a solid waste ordinance with a clause allowing them to make recycling mandatory.  This is on the agenda for Monday:

True progressive logic!  Demand you comply, then make it difficult to comply.  How long will this last:

PDF page 52:

The liquidator who bought the Mitsubishi plant is costing the Town money by appealing their property taxes.


Public hearing on the budget – see PDF page 61 and following.

The troubling notes are on PDF page  63:

Cheer this one on page 64:

All is not well in Koosville!

See more cuts on PDF page 64.

The proposed budget appears to count transfers as revenue.  The bond rating agencies won’t like a decrease in reserves.

At least one unit of government put in writing what we already knew:  The work force is declining with limited job and wage growth.

Since Bloomington raised garbage rates:

PDF page 72 – Normal will too:



Water rates are going up too:

PDF page 78

We will also be billed monthly instead of every two months.

PDF page 85:

Your new City Manager is going to be paid:

Reece also gets a car or an allowance of $650 a month.  (Take the bus?  Nope)

Of course, benefits and pension funding is included.

Google average HOUSEHOLD income in Normal Il:

Let them eat cake!





36 thoughts on “Normal – crashing!

  1. All is well for King Koos, he will just raise the taxes on his subjects. Don’t speak out against the king!! He may take your land. 🙂


  2. All of this is before State Farm “starts” to layoff hundreds and maybe thousands of their employees? Can you say, Normal is “up the creek without a paddle?” Good job Mayor Koos – you have prepared Normal for a huge financial crisis that will shake the foundations of the town and require significant layoffs and service reductions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the last couple of weeks I have talked to many of my friends who work at State Farm and all is not well in Farmville. The first round of job cuts was announced last week. I know one family where one partner has been transferred to Dallas while the other partner is awaiting an announcement in mid March as to whether there will even be a job for that person or if they will be offered something in Bloomington or another region. In the meantime they have to make a decision pronto about Dallas with no guarantee the other partner will be able to get a job in Dallas. It’s a big hot mess for families in this community that is going to have a major impact that neither Bloomington or Normal is prepared for.

    The thing that stands out for me in all this is how inadequate our communities have been in attracting technical jobs that could pick up a lot of the displaced State Farm workers. We’ve put all our eggs in one basket with State Farm and ISU that there is nothing in either town for displaced workers to transfer to. I know a State Farm worker in another region who is not scared to loosing their job because there’s opportunity in the same community through other employers. Bloomington State Farm employees don’t have that.

    Instead, our local governments have focused on attracting Five Below, Home Goods, Ross’ Dress for Less and Portilos to town when they should have been focused on bringing a high tech firm to town who could hire displaced State Farm workers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They’re not prepared because they (Koos, Renner, et. al.) have put their heads in the sand. SF has been completely transparent and upfront with the administration of both cities. The blame for the coming reckoning is squarely on the administration of both cities.
      Don’t worry about ISU, we’re good. we’re not laying off anyone.


      1. Good luck with that… Higher education is in for a big correction and ISU will not be exempt. Expect continued declining enrollments – things have only begun to shake out in higher education.


      1. That layoff site is pretty brutal. It’s amazing how the local city councils just refuse to acknowledge it.
        If ISU enrollment drops by a thousand, I’ll start to worry. Highered is changing, for sure, but the brick and mortar institutions with good reputations aren’t going anywhere in our lifetime, or my kids, or even grandkids.


        1. Seriously you think that higher education and ISU is going to be around in it’s present form for another generation and the generation beyond that? Really? Have you noticed what has been happening with all the other state schools (U of I being the exception)? Here you go: This is what will be happening at ISU in a year or so… the entire business model of higher education is obsolete and they have priced themselves out of their own market. Why exactly in the age of information, do we need to gather people into buildings and have a person lecture them? The Student loan debt has reached crisis proportions and is preventing an entire generation from starting families and buying homes: Look at the data from the Brookings report – this higher education craziness cannot and will not continue. Normal’s shortsighted leadership has bet the farm that ISU will continue to provide student cash cows for the foreseeable future. Enrollments will drop next semester and the semester after that. There is literally no way to stop it at this point. We will soon see mass closings of colleges all across the country. Just like big box retail… higher education is pretty much (with a few exceptions of course) history. So good job Mayor Koos… you have just prepared the town of Normal for financial ruin. 93 million in debt for the Upside Downtown debacle as higher education (Normal’s main economic driver) fades into the sunset? If I didn’t have so many other things on my plate, I would start writing a book about the leadership of this town during this time period. It would be simply called “Clueless”.


      2. I’m with you. It would be naive to think that State Farm doesn’t exercise control or undue influence on the Pantagraph (they own the parent company), WGLT (wonder if the company and/or execs donate to the station), and other local media. Sad. Just sad.


      1. “This is what will be happening at ISU in a year or so…” I’ll bet you my yearly salary, it won’t. I said it was changing, I’m not denying that. I work in it, see it every day, and yes, schools will close, as I think a few of them here in Illinois should. ISU will not be one of them. There is a reckoning coming in highered, the price is a huge factor, but we’re certainly not going to see the majority of brick and mortar schools go away. It’s just not gonna happen.


      2. Do you have the skill set Mud? Doubt, but if you do, run. Pull the petitions and run for office. Stop complaining and be the change!


  4. Everything BUT Normal in UPTOWN! I have a dream, that there will be a day when the folks in UPTOWN have SO RUINED the economy, that they will HAVE to ride Connect Transit, but they will not be funded, so their bus will NOT not come.. I WILL frame that front page of the Pantagraph..


  5. If you think Bloomington and Normal are in fiscal crisis on their current trajectory, just wait until the State of Illinois hands the unfunded teachers pension liability back to the local school districts. Think it won’t happen? It’s been talked about in Springfield for over 5 years, and is included in Rauner’s proposed budget. It may not pass this year, but it will become reality sooner rather than later. The State can’t pay it. Neither can the municipalities. The inevitable hand-off will cause a huge spike in property taxes and will crash property values. It’s coming and we’re totally unprepared for it.

    Check out the chart on the attached essay and ask yourself how this ends.


    1. That’s clever. You know why the state wants to kick it to the towns, right? Because the states can’t file for bankruptcy, but municipalities can. The pensions are in need of bankruptcy to protect the taxpayers from the debt.


      1. That’s one of the reasons they’ll do it. The main reason is that the math dictates it. It cannot be paid by the state. The liability is too large.


  6. My sources tell me that laid off State Farm contract Indian works are already leaving town and the ones with houses are putting them on the market. This is just the beginning of what is to come.


      1. Rich… was I referring to a future event here? No… this is happening now… and my source is a person in the real estate industry… Do you want to know more? Here you go… once again (to explain to you the time I am speaking about) this is happening RIGHT now… a very active and well know real estate broker is “expanding to Arizona” — which is being interpreted by many that he is preparing to leave our wonderful area. Now I will let it up to you to speculate why a successful broker would suddenly want to “expand” to another state? Now once again this is happening now… not in the future.. And finally nearly 3 years ago I wrote an essay that predicts exactly what is happening to this town; it was published on this blog,on LinkedIn and on Kindle. Perhaps you should take the time to read it and then you can make the decision if I am a futurist or just someone who is good at seeing things that others don’t see?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lawrence, my sources have informed me that the reason this real estate broker is moving to Arizona is his partner is being transferred by State Farm. And he will be keeping his local (B/N) real estate business active.


  7. Better shake your “future telling liquid filled 8 ball” again Rich! State Farm is getting RID of a LOT of “dead weight” they should have done a LONG time ago. The GRAVY TRAIN is leaving the station, and UPTOWN has a new one, OH the humanity.. Maybe YOU’LL be on it Rich?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rich is quite the Pollyanna. Let’s all hold hands and Bloomington-Normal will survive the State Farm downturn. It seems to be the prevailing strategy (or lack thereof) from our local so-called leaders. Sad to say, but these layoffs are years in the making. It needs to happen. I’m sure these folks can find ample job opportunities in Bloomington-Normal…Rivian is hiring. [SMH]

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Rich tried unsuccessfully to Gaslight me… let’s look at the definition of gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

    Gaslighting is used all the time by the left…Needless to say attempting to gaslight me is something that you will regret… As someone who was an early adopter to Twitter and used to actually teach it… I have seen everything thrown at me by people a lot smarter and a lot more manipulative than Mr. Rich here. And I must end here by saying that most of the so called smart people (and so called leadership) here act like buffoons in social media and in online debating formats. Intellectually speaking, we really have a D minus bunch here pretending that they are kings of the B/N mountain.


    1. Dick is invested in the corruption. He needs us to doubt ourselves. His livelihood depends upon it. If we doubt it, we get apathetic. If we get apathetic, the tyranny and theft continues. Reminds me of a guy that took over Germany before WW2!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ISU’s lower enrollment last fall needs to be put in perspective: the previous three years had over-enrollment of undergraduates. And last spring, 4-5 high school seniors applied for every freshman vacancy. Some of the M/W and T/Th courses are over capacity across campus, and Friday-only classes are now being offered. Other classes start at 8:00 PM because there’s not enough classrooms during traditional class hours. Across the campus, most summer courses are now online.

    Former President Al Bowman had the foresight to see what was happening in higher education, and positioned ISU for the future. ISU and UIC are the only two state universities that have strong financial stability given the state’s mess. It’s erroneous to compare ISU to EIU, WIU, SIU and the others; many of those students enroll at ISU. Finally another preparation for the future are the increasing number of 2+2 agreements with community colleges. Students from CC’s can now, for the most part, walk into a classroom their junior year at ISU and not have to make up course work.

    A generation is usually defined as a 30-year period. Lawrence451 is correct that changes in higher education are coming — they’re already here. But I’m confident that ISU will remain in a strong position for the next generation or two.


    1. “It’s erroneous to compare ISU to EIU, WIU, SIU and the others; many of those students enroll at ISU.” Was I comparing universities? No – I was talking about dropping enrollments. Dropping enrollments that are caused by just a few things: 1) education that has priced itself out of it’s own market (we all know how higher education has lost its focus on education and added many layers of administration and non-education programs to colleges) 2) 1.6 Trillion in student loan debt of which approximately 40% is in default or deferred payments (this is crippling an entire generation of kids who played by the rules and now can’t find jobs that allow them to start families and buy homes. 3) the inefficient nature of 4 year degrees in the 21st Century and the lack of preparation for the labor market. (Spending 4 years preparing and being forced through a 20th Century curriculum is a waste of time for students and does nothing to prepare them for a 21st Century economy. In a world now that requires multiple skills, adaptability and a thinking outside the box mindset… not workers who have proved their ability to conform and who have wasted 4 years studying things they will never use in the job market.)

      Thinking that ISU is somehow special and wont be effected by the wave of technological change is symptomatic of what I have called, the “it can’t happen here mindset” – people here thing that because they have never had to suffer any of the ups and downs that most areas have had to experience that nothing is ever going to change or challenge their world. The Age of Information and the exponential rate of technological change has created a cusp or a point of transition between the world we knew and understood in the 20th Century and the world of rapid technological change in the 21st Century. So what we perceive (from our 20th Century oriented view points) is a change rate that is linear with a low angle upward slope to it. In actuality, a graph of the real rate of change would resemble a hockey stick. Change is happening at a rate that is impossible for us to wrap our minds around. We see it happening all around us every day. We all knew that shopping habits had changed dramatically and that at some point retail stores would be hurt. Could anyone just a couple years ago have predicted the closing of thousands of big box retailers in 2017? Thousands of retail outlets closed and it is likely that even more will close in 2018.

      So believing that somehow ISU will be immune because of its “special place” in the market is roughly equivalent to thinking that your corner Block Buster Video store will somehow stay open inspite the closings of all the other stores in the nation. There are right now much better and cheaper ways to learn what you need to get a job and prepare yourself for survival in a 21st Century job market. Brick and mortar education is inefficient and obsolete. Once again, in the next 5 years hundreds of colleges across the nation will be forced to close their doors. It is just a matter of time before ISU will become one of them.


      1. While I agree with some of your points, employers that require a bachelor’s degree will seek out those students who earned one. As I said above, things are changing at ISU for the future. No more dorms are being built; let the private sector handle that. More internships are being offered that prepare those students for their careers. And speaking of video stores, how do you explain Family Video staying in business?


        1. Are there people still living right now who would want to watch video tapes instead of DVRs? Yes of course there are a few out there. Will Family Video be around in less than 5 years? Probably not. The world is moving forward so rapidly that it is really hard for people to understand the changes and adapt to them. Individuals (depending on each situation) adapt to the changes at different rates and adopt the technology that is appropriate for their lives or businesses. I think of this like a gradient scale from (white), being completely technologically impaired (no cell phone and can’t use a computer) to (black), being totally immersed in technology and the on-line world. We have in the general population all the shades of this gradient scale that go from white to different shades of grey to finally black. So I would expect people who frequent Family Video stores to be the on the very light end of my gradient scale. There will be fewer and fewer of these people with each passing day. And of course market forces will eventually drive what rental CD businesses are left out of business. The result will be the end of rental CDs forever…


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