Normal: We must entertain! (and more)

By:  Diane Benjamin

A reader asked me how much the Town of Normal contributes to the CornBellters, so I FOIA’d that information.  The Normal Cornbelters are another quasi-government organization with no transparency.

Did you know for 20 years Normal is rebating all food and beverage taxes?

I wonder if they audit sales?  How are cash sales verified?

In addition to the $34,259.91 in 2017, I received  documents showing payments of:

$8500 labeled Ryan Sandburg sponsorship which included 25 luxury seat tickets, 4 parking passes, and a meet and great with Sandburg

$6000 labeled sponsorship

$6000 labeled Legends game sponsorship

$150 for 25 1/2 priced box seats

$5000 labeled Lee Brice

Total for 2017:  $59,910

In 2018, in addition to the $29,861.88 I have the following payments:

$6000 labeled Legends game

$8500 labeled Andrea Dawson, an email is included changing Dawson to Jose Canseco

$9000 labeled Corporate contract

$1250 through Parks and Rec for 250 reserved seats – Summer Day Camp

Since the Summer Day Camp participants may have reimbursed the cost I won’t include them in the total.

Total so far in 2018:  $53,362

Besides spending money only to entertain you (whether you ever go or not), the cost of staff time isn’t included.

I also filed a FOIA request for receipts for Chris Koos’s trip to the US Conference of Mayors:

The total cost was $2711.16

Registration was $895.00

Flight to Boston was $626.39

Hotel for 3 nights was $1209.99, $330 per night.  The bill has two charges labeled Champion, which must be Champions Sports Bar – $26.47 and $24.33.  The rest of the charges are taxes and two internet charges of $12.95.

Ground Transportation was $68.05

If you did the math, you are right – the charges don’t add to what Koos was paid.

See the expense report Koos turned in here:   US Conference of Mayors expense report











18 thoughts on “Normal: We must entertain! (and more)

  1. Wait. Are you telling me the Town of Normal is a community partner and participates in local events? OMG! I wonder what they’re going to spend on the Sugar Creek Arts Fest this weekend? I’m sure you think it’s too much.

    1. I wonder what law the use to justify entertainment and therefore destroy capitalism. When their fiefdom collapses as socialism always does, people will see the difference – especially in their tax bills.

    2. Rich, why should the whole town subsidize a baseball team that probably less than 10% of the population gives a hoot about?

      1. Tyler is generous. 10%?! The stadium is nearly empty every game. Even their own photographers have given up trying to find angles that don’t show empty seats. The Corncrib is another Collesium (arena…whatever). More votes bought at the expense of the average taxpayer (not resident…TAXPAYER).

    3. I can’t believe it, but I almost agree with Rich. On this point, at least. The Sugar Creek Arts Festival draws vendors and visitors from all over the Midwest. I think a case can be made for an ROI, if done properly. However, as we know, the Town of Normal is not known for its fiscal prudence. The McLean County Arts Center, which chairs this event, has been trying to make the case of an ROI for the Town of Normal. It would be interesting to read and analyze their findings, which currently exist in headline form. Interestingly enough, the McLean County Arts Center itself is already subsidized by the Town of Normal, so we’ll need to factor that in as well. What a mess!

    4. YOU GOING TO ANSWER THIS POST RICH? RICH? I know you see this. Last chance.
      “Rich! What kind of parents are willing to take the chance that their kids will be separated from them when they break the law? What kind of parents are willing to walk across the desert with little children exposing them to poisonous reptiles, severe dehydration, and/or stuffing them in the back of a locked box truck with no ventalation? Please advise.”

  2. What you are reporting, Diane, is the fiscal impact (the cost) of these projects that no one sees or talks about.
    And, yes, the Sugar Creek Arts Festival took place long before “Uptown” existed. It’s success is due to demand for such an event and the fact that it draws people from outside of a 100 mile radius. True economic impact needs to use that number–those who wouldn’t visit B/N “but for” the event.

  3. Koos not only flew Business/First – he also paid nearly 200 dollars higher than any fare I could find doing a random 3 dates throughout the year search of various airlines. These people are incompetent as well as spending other people’s money like sailors on leave (who at least spend their own money). If that thing would have squished himself into even premium economy, which is FINE for such a short flight, we could have saved over 400 dollars having his carcass hauled to Boston. I am so sick of these entitled elites.

      1. He could get a ride to O’Hare or take the Peoria Charter (From the beautiful Uptown Station no less!) for 58 bucks round trip – but these people have NO idea how to be frugal, NONE, zero. The reason people do NOT fly from BMI (CIRA) is the cost unless it is to a VERY small number of destinations. He could have possibly snagged a round trip economy from Chicago to Boston for as little as $119.00 – the highest I found for economy was $287.00. These people are simply idiots, yes I said it, OR they simply don’t care how much of other people’s money they spend – either way they have no place as leaders of any kind.

  4. “Worse, there was no reason to attend other than to get ideas for spending even more.”

    Agreed – 100% – plus these things are socializing for them – this is their social life – meetings, seminars, “trainings”, parties that are really secret planning sessions etc.

  5. “Did you know for 20 years Normal is rebating all food and beverage taxes?”
    No, I didn’t know that. Must be nice. While other business people have to be careful not to raise their prices too high (due to retails taxes being a part of the expenditure) these jerks get the 10.75% back to them! Another slap in the face to taxpayers AND local business owners!

  6. Years ago I had a dance performance group that performed around the area at parties and festivals. We were invited to perform during half time at CB field. I turned it down because our group was going to be charged full admission just to perform for free. That is unless we bought advertising. We weren’t even going to get a complimentary hotdog. Our performances booked at several hundred dollars a performance. We were asked to do it for free but pay to get in. No wonder people are leaving this town. The CB field is just another elephant like the “Judy Dome”. Our streets suck but we can give away money for boondoggles like these.

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