No major cuts!

By:  Diane Benjamin

Questions for the Council:  Last November you held a retreat.  EVERY program the City is forcing people to pay for was presented.

See PDF page 34 and following:

There are 15 pages of programs ranked from HIGH priority to Low priority.

It looks like cutting programs died the day they were presented – November 4th 2017.  Normal cut $20 million from a budget close to half as big.  Bloomington zilch.

Meanwhile, Tari Renner is telling the media the job cuts at State Farm are not going to affect the local economy.

(cough, cough)

Alderman David Sage forced the City to admit revenues are already dropping.  Alderman Jamie Mathy stated that revenues will continue to drop not only because of the job losses but because other people do not feel secure in their jobs.  They won’t be buying new cars and eating out as much.

Sage works at State Farm, he knows there are more cuts to come.  Renner lives in la-la-land just like the Democrats in Springfield.

I attended the budget workshop this morning.  There were no major breakthroughs and no major cuts discussed.

Registering businesses is still an option.  Normal registers them, but doesn’t charge a fee.  Bloomington won’t be able to resist charging.  After a few years that fee will double, then triple.  They have a LONG list of other fees they think need raised, like permits and contractor fees.  I love the way they compare their fees to other cities.  It’s so easy for them to conspire together for maximum “revenue enhancements”.

The Council is thinking about cutting the Connect Transit subsidy, they won’t but it sounds good.  Connect claims they provided 2.2 million rides, but the head was forced to admit that riders who change buses are counted as two.  Their return trip would be another 2.  Actual riders are nowhere near 2.2 million.  A WHOOPING 20 people per hour board a bus – that’s ALL the buses.  Connect has no way of knowing how many people actually ride, the numbers they do provide are worthless.

Did you know the City is contracted to give the History Museum $250,000 over 5 years?  Obviously an essential service!

The current budget does not contain money specifically for brick streets.  Amelia Buragas wasn’t there to force the issue.  1 block of brick costs between $500,000 and $600,000.  Alderman Kim Bray said the homeowners should be approached about kicking in money if they want to keep the brick.

Jim Karch won’t get more money for resurfacing or street preservation unless you pay more Motor Fuel Tax.  Alderman Diana Hauman said the additional tax is only a couple bucks a month – around $24 a year

Now add $20 a year increase in property taxes for a $10,000,000 aquatics center.

Sewer and Storm Water rates are going up around $10 a month – add another $120 out of your pocket.

If you have a 96 gal garbage can, that’s going up $4 buck a month – another $48 a year.

$24 + $20 + $120 + 48 = $212 a year that you can’t spend where you want.

The City will continue to allow pensions spiking, it wasn’t mentioned today.  City employees will continue to get Cadillac benefits.

This budget isn’t for citizens, it’s for City employees.

Alderman Jamie Mathy wants a serious look at employee compensation.

Don’t hold your breathe.




24 thoughts on “No major cuts!

  1. Only in Bloomington-Normal could you have these kinds of things happen. We begin a major economic decline with the loss of 890 highly paid people (with many more layoffs to come and then ripple effect jobs will start to layoff) and this means nothing to the city government? It would be funny if it was not so tragic.

    1. It seems the people of Bloomington-Normal would rather be told a fairy tale, that everything will be alright. Look no further than recent comments on this blog from people saying there is no impact or that the forthcoming claims jobs will cancel things out. When was the last time BN endured a significant economic downturn? We’re soft. It’s gonna hurt!

      1. Like I have said and written about in the past, the “it can’t happen here” mindset is almost a mass psychoses of denial. It has created a situation where there are two different movies playing on the same screen. One screen is showing a Norman Rockwell like movie of BN with happy families and dozens of chain restaurants feeding them and the other is showing the reality of 2018 (the beginning of the demise of State Farm). Soon there will be just one movie playing and it will be very difficult for the “it can’t happen here” crowd to watch.

  2. Mathey wants to sell baked goods. Period. It’s just TOO BAD that he’s so good at GIVING a SNOW JOB!

  3. how do they not realize not every one eats and travels on the public , not everyone makes a professors wages , not everyone has a lot of expendable income . sales taxes are up , stores and malls are failing , because if they are that oblivious to the environment , and the ill effects their actions are doing to worsen it more , then they truly are shitheads who need replaced . in the beginning they should have been on top of this mess , spending wisely and cutting the fat , not looking for more debt and ways to up taxes for pet projects . it’s good to have goals and dreams , but theirs are turning this future city into a debt nightmare . well done smucks , well done .

    1. Entry level salaries for professors are around $32,000. Not sure why you think they’re high.

      1. Really? Perhaps you don’t realize that we can fact check you instantly? The Age of Information allows us to do that… Ok – Mr. Entry Level Professors Wages are 32K. Everyone go to and look at the wages for college professors – From $63,620 to $222,684 with the median wage being $92,885! Now I have had in the past personal friends who were tenured college professors and they told me it was amazing how few hours they were required to work. Now with all this being said, it is not the wages of college professors that are driving up the cost of higher education. It is the layers of overpaid administrators building enormous bureaucratic fiefdoms, the proliferation of non-academic programs and the gilding of our colleges (look at ISU’s new fitness center for an example) So James Burchett is accurate in saying “not everyone makes professors wages” – this is just Gaslighting Yamaha2004 and you know it.

      2. Renner has been teaching for at least 25 years, has tenure and has been department chair. He lives in a $300,000 home on the East side of Bloomington. He didn’t have to pay college tuition for his two children because tuition waivers are a perk for employees at IWU. Renner’s salary is well above the median income of Bloomington.

  4. 10 million to upgrade O’Neil is going to be a waste of money. As realtors say … location, location, location. The pool probably need to be repaired, but the current high dive, slides and baby pool makes for a lovely day. Bloomington pools are cheaper than Normal pools because they have less flair.

    1. I know, right? Sadly, Tari and friends believe this to be true. They live in an alternate universe. Mathy is usually wrong, but at least he acknowledges the direct impact from jobs eliminated and the economic insecurity among those still employed at State Farm. These 900 jobs are just the first inning. State Farm has only begun trimming its workforce. They are far from done. The level of disconnect between leadership and economic reality is startling!

  5. When is the last time a cut was made from the budget? Why even bother to have these meetings? I guess so they can feel better by making comments like “we want to take a serious look at employee compensation.”

  6. There was a tea party in this country that was held many years ago because of the burden of taxes. Maybe it is time to dump the tea again!

  7. (Sidebar) I asked a good friend (a Decatur resident) this weekend how much he was charged for private garbage collection. He replied that it was $33.00…for two months! And that included an extra dollar per week for them to walk up and grab the can from behind his house since he is often not home on pickup day.

    Bloomington’s public union featherbedding must end!

      1. Bloomington raised the rates, which will increase annually by 3% going forward, while reducing services. Tell again how the private company was going to raise the rates and cut the service which is bad for the citizens.

  8. How many citizens showed up to the meeting and spoke during public comment? More than the number of Council members?

  9. we pay $13.65 a month for garbage. they pickup yard waste twice a month and I’m not sure about bulk, everything I’ve ever sat out has been taken. I did see a bulletin on the water bill last summer about a bulky waste pickup day

  10. I personally don’t care if State Farm close down completely, there is nothing like seeing a bunch of well to do acting people go through some real life trauma! Look on the bright side, BN has a new jail section if State Farm employees can’t handle the truth. State Farm employees should know better than to put all their eggs around State Farm with all them big DEGREES they have. State Farm don’t even monitor the subcontractor companies working under them, better yet themselves! 👎👎👎👎👎 stop complaining!

    1. This town will be like Galesburg or Decatur. We have a company that is our main economic driver currently spinning downward in what I call a free fall. It is losing business at a rapid rate as it completely alienates its workforce. It has thousands of extra people and has not even begun to move into the technology that is emerging in the InsurTech industry. State Farm is a lumbering dinosaur trapped and sinking in a tar pit of upheaval with BN attached to it. This is not going to be pretty. And our leadership has yet to admit there is a problem?

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