By: Diane Benjamin When taxpayer abuse is this blatant, it’s easy to see. Most abuse is much harder to find. This picture is from Google maps. Note the sidewalk is perfectly flat – this is along Front Street in front of Rosie’s. Now see this picture – again look at the sidewalk. TWO concrete planter […]
The tables in Champaign stay out all night, the chairs are secured in stacks on top of them. ________________ By: Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was on the radio this morning again proclaiming no city is successful without a successful downtown. He of course learned that at the US Conference of Mayors, he’s going to another […]
By” Diane Benjamin I found an article talking to the author of a book called: Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain Although the story talks a lot about mega deals like a new Amazon headquarters, the same principles apply locally. Quotes: There are consultants, there are companies, there are elected officials, […]
By: Diane Benjamin The majority of the meeting was spent talking about TIF districts. The City of Bloomington currently has two: Empire Corridor which is a massive area along Empire street, and Downtown Southwest. The City is trying to get approval from the other taxing bodies for two more: The old Junior High building area […]
By: Diane Benjamin At every City Council meeting Mayor Renner reads at least one Proclamation, of course signed by him. Last night it was Gun Violence Awareness Day. See the proclamation here – PDF Page 13 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17858 The numbers used weren’t hard to find a source for: https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/ This groups tax return shows they advocate […]
By: Diane Benjamin Earlier this month I reported Connect Transit gave Normal’s former City Manager a gift card to mark his retirement: https://blnnews.com/2018/05/21/899191-05/ While Connect Transit lost $899,191.05 in just one month, Mark Peterson got $50.00 or it: This receipt was received by FOIA.
By: Diane Benjamin Similar graphics are available on many sites. Carbon is .035% of the atmosphere. If you listen to the media its destroying life on planet earth. Really? Source
Sorry, reading the wrong month By: Diane Benjamin Yes, it’s been really hot! Media thought we might break a record yesterday. What was the record yesterday? 94 degrees What the media often fails to tell you is what year that record was set. Instead they spew Global Warming or Climate Change unsubstantiated statements and demand […]
By: Diane Benjamin According to Wikipedia: Back in 1967 virtually nothing existed where Eastland Mall is today. Locals tell me the City Council cheered the new mall without understanding moving anchor stores from downtown would result in today’s conditions. How many employees did the Pantagraph formerly have downtown? They recently created another empty large building […]
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See links in the comments, the actual space for lease may be other locations in the same center. Source: http://www.pantagraph.com/special-sections/e-edition/page/page_b5e544d3-36fc-5e66-9c1a-b8ae5b5b1705.html Bloomington MUST quit spending money now and cut personnel. A bloodbath is coming. (Maybe they just need a bigger store in a better location) h/t a reader . . . . . . . […]
By: Diane Benjamin Tuesday night the Bloomington City Council is going to talk about TIF districts: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17858 PDF page 209 Bloomington has a long history of projects that aren’t the “Right Fit”. Start with the Coliseum and the BCPA, both catalyst project that did nothing to revitalize downtown. Between the two, around $100,000,000 has been […]
By: Diane Benjamin For the year ending June 30, 2017 United Way collected a $1,000,000 less than the previous year. Total revenue was $2.1 million, so a million less is huge. 22% of the Revenue went to salaries and benefits. The previous year only 18% went to employees. See page one of the tax return […]
By: Diane Benjamin http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Local%20Area%20Unemployment%20Statistics%20LAUS/PressRelease/Local/Blm-Peoria_Apr.pdf Compared to April of 2017, April of 2018 saw 600 fewer jobs in Bloomington-Normal: Decatur gained 200 The State Farm bloodbath is just beginning, but here’s worse news: 200 more bureaucrats are employed? That’s bad news for your wallet and the future of Bloomington-Normal. 200 more people dreaming up how to […]
By: Diane Benjamin Remember the 15 second commercial run on television for the Bloomington Public Library? I received the cost by FOIA: The FOIA response claims two television commercials were produced. I only received one in response to my FOIA request. NOTE: All of the commercials that have run have not been billed. . . […]
By: Diane Benjamin The building below used to be the piano and music store: It has been vacant for quite a while even though the rent is cheap for such a large space. http://www.cityfeet.com/cont/listing/retail-space-for-lease/417-n-main-st-bloomington-il-61701/cs11356072 According to the County website, taxes on this building are $1,511.88 a year. http://mcleanil.devnetwedge.com/view/RE/21-04-189-003/2017 The building is owned by ZCV3 LLC. The […]
By: Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for 5/29/2018 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17800 See page 86-93. All the NEGATIVE numbers mean they spent more than was budgeted for that area. It’s illegal to spend what isn’t budgeted without Council approval. If I have time I may investigate further. Note: Remember all Tari’s free lunches he claimed were for City business? […]
By: Diane Benjamin https://www.point2homes.com/US/Commercial-For-Sale/IL/Bloomington/Downtown-Bloomington/602604-N-Main/51134568.html The building is owned by downtown supporter Mike Manna. Is he fleeing? One caveat: The taxes listed are on a much lower Assessed Value: $93,787 http://mcleanil.devnetwedge.com/view/RE/21-04-178-016/2017 Multiply that by 3.33 and it is supposedly the value of the building. That would be $281,361. Is the asking price too high or the […]
By: Diane Benjamin “One of the best-funded pension plans in the country is the nearly 90 percent funded Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which has long had the ability to enforce payments into the plan.” IMRF funding isn’t a problem. That’s why pension spiking penalties were enacted, the fund couldn’t afford to pay pensions for employees […]
By: Diane Benjamin When the consultants report is presented for a new sports complex here, it will be a glowing report of tax dollars and visitors flocking here with their kids. It won’t mention the PRIVATE Pony League Fields that were built with no tax dollars but are thriving anyway. I wonder if the consultants […]
By: Diane Benjamin Reports are that Rivian is up to around 40 employees. How Many Employees do nothing but move Volkswagens? (Just to keep them running until the emissions problem gets resolved) . . . . . .
This story is almost 2 years old, but since we have socialists leaning candidates running in McLean County, it’s more than worth reading. Jesus confronted the money-changers and challenged believers to give to the needy. But, would he support socialism? Increasingly, Americans think he would. In fact, a recent Barna poll found that more Americans think Jesus […]
By: Diane Benjamin The Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN) is part a project the State of Illinois applied for with the Federal government. Illinois State University ended up with part of the grant which led to establishing CIRBN LLC. Since CIRBN files non-profit tax returns, they should be incorporated as a non-profit on the […]
When does the first person trip and sue? If the City doesn’t want to pay for stop lights, why aren’t they out-doing Normal with TWO roundabouts? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout Did a planter used to be in front of Rosie’s too? I heard one was there briefly! Can anyone confirm? .
By: Diane Benjamin In the interest of diversity and inclusion, more than 20 all gender bathrooms have been added to campus. Are showers included? Source: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/climate-change-isu-working-to-fill-gaps-in-diversity-inclusion/article_85982c94-c66e-598e-9654-532026d71e95.html Just who are they trying to include? Do you want your daughter walking in a restroom with a bunch of guys? Why do they need more than 20? Next […]
By: Diane Benjamin US representative Darin Lahood must know about the BILLIONS the federal government is throwing at public transportation. The local bus services only loses $900,000 every month, but many cities lose more. The federal government is wasting our tax dollars evidently for votes. Seriously folks, people can’t be transported locally for less money […]
By: Diane Benjamin It should come as no surprise by now the Title of this story is how much Connect Transit lost in just the month of April. Let that sink in for a minute. Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w_NfO02u72tKHxv6ZdTJY8wbMLepDP7J/view April had 30 days. That means the empty buses were burning $29,973 in tax dollars EVERY DAY in […]
By: Diane Benjamin In the past month I had to file a FOIA request for the missing Sister Cities Committee minutes: https://blnnews.com/2018/04/18/cut-sister-cities/ I also had to file for the minutes missing from the Police Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB): https://blnnews.com/2018/05/17/pscrb-update-police-review-board/ The March and April Liquor Commission minutes are also missing: Tari needs to tell […]
By: Diane Benjamin http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2969 Besides the usual subsidies to Connect Transit, and the Economic Development Council, and payments to the National League of Cities and International City/County Management Assoc, Rivian got their grounds taken care of by you: Other business: PDF page 77 and following: Coming to Uptown as requested by Stave (I’ve never heard […]
By: Diane Benjamin We have a blueprint for the future. Just look at Sanctuary State California. The Trust Act made Illinois a sanctuary state, Chicago declared itself a sanctuary city. The “Welcoming Ordinance” Normal passed is just short of that, but the local open borders activists aren’t going to stop there. Progressives never stop. Did […]
By: Diane Benjamin See the original story: https://blnnews.com/2018/05/16/true-public-servant-cough-cough/ A reader emailed this comment to the library along with a link to the story: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ . The writer received this response: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ Every City employee needs the same message. Thanks Jeanne Hamilton. . . . . . .
I spoke to Dale’s mom. Dale was registered at Normal West but he was killed in August 21st and never got to attend. No one from West contacted her. Many people are talking about ways to make sure he isn’t forgotten. His mom suggested a memorial bench at Miller Park or at the Cornbelters field […]
By: Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story: https://blnnews.com/2018/05/09/setting-wedges/ The majority of the minutes are now listed on the website for the Police Safety and Community Relations Board. They first met in December 2017, no minutes are available from that meeting. If you want to see the January 2018 minutes, you have to read the February packet. […]
By: Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story from two days ago: https://blnnews.com/2018/05/15/foia-fail-again-and-again/ I emailed both the City Clerk and Tari about the ridiculous .50 (fifty cents) charge and use of a disk since previous large FOIA requests have been delivered via Hightail. Yesterday afternoon I received the request digitally. Since the Clerk probably would have ignored […]
By: Diane Benjamin Being a government employee living off money stolen from hard-working taxpayers must not come with a course in what shouldn’t ever be said in public. I’m sure some laugh with each other about the sweet benefits they get and the life long spiked pension they will collect that increases automatically every year. […]
By: Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was on WJBC this morning with Scott Laughlin. Scott asked Tari about pension funding. Tari had to mention the pension funding award he accepted several years ago. Pension funding was neglected for many years so Bloomington could do fun stuff like the BCPA and the Coliseum. When Tari was elected […]
By: Diane Benjamin The numbers below are from the Illinois Comptroller’s website: http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ Normal’s budget has increased 33% in 6 years. 5.5% per year is much higher than the inflation rate. Last year Normal spent almost $36 million more than it did in 2012. Where is it? Roads? Population is estimated at 54,264. That spending […]
By: Diane Benjamin A reader told me at the end of April the Bloomington Public Library was running ads on a Peoria TV station. On April 30th I filed a FOIA request for the ad and what they are spending on advertising. Keep in mind the City of Bloomington spends a fortune on IT and […]