Buying Votes with Incentives?

By:  Diane Benjamin

One item on the agenda for last night’s Bloomington City Council meeting was originally on the consent agenda, but it was moved to the regular agenda prior to the meeting date.  Why it was ever on the Consent Agenda, where an alderman would have to pull it for discussion, is a question that wasn’t asked.  That was not the place it ever should have been.

The City wanted to give incentives to a business which relocated to the old Wildwood property over a year ago.  The first incentive was to provide money to take down a “derelict” water tower.  It was referred to as derelict many times by the Community Development Director, Bob Mahrt.  If it was painted with the company logo, some might consider it charming, but city code doesn’t allow that!  Instead it’s deemed derelict.

It doesn’t matter the company bought the property with the water tower.  It’s their small water tower, they bought the property knowing it was there, it was their job to leave it alone or pay to have it removed themselves.  The City is not telling them to take it down.  Instead the City is:

giving them $40,000 when estimates are $27,000

But the City isn’t done.  The company wants another entrance off Mercer.  That would require paying tap on fees of $80,000.  the City decided to discount that by $48,000.

Commercial Packaging has been in business over 35 years.  It employees around 40 people, that number will not increase because of these incentives.  Bob Mahrt said taking down the water tower was purely for aesthetics and maybe future growth.  A property to the north also received reduced tap on fees.

Nobody is against new uses for abandoned properties, but this company bought it over a year ago.  Mahrt admitted these incentives are not “needs based” when asked by Alderman Bray.  Alderman Schmidt reiterated that point by stating she though the economic development plan was “but/for”, meaning the project wouldn’t happen without incentives.  Alderman Painter chimed in to asked why these incentives weren’t ironed out over a year ago.  Mahrt spins it as now they are renovating the office, so this is new.

Everyone will be paying more in taxes so this business that didn’t need the money could get it.  How many votes did this buy?

Just hit play to hear Bray, Schmidt, and Painter.  Buragas follows stating this encourages existing businesses.  How many didn’t get incentives Amelia, and how do you justify your discrimination against them?

The final vote was 7-2 with Schmidt and Painter voting no.  They all should have.


12 thoughts on “Buying Votes with Incentives?

  1. IF the company OWNS the water tower then THEY should be able to do as they please with it. This is just MORE government overreach! Meanwhile they sure beat the dead horse on landlords who have violations and upping fines, fees, etc, so basically they are costing THIER own “disenfranchised” voting base more money for rent.
    What about streets?

  2. Whew. I was SO much more disturbed by the water tower than our crumbling sewers that leak raw sewage (poo) on our streets and sidewalks. I’m so much more offended by the water tower than the condition of our streets – that look like something out of a third world country. I’m way more offended by the water tower than the piles of vomit all over downtown streets because the only businesses that want to be there are college bars. Thank GOD the Council is finally doing something about that water tower (I didn’t even know there WAS a water tower).

    1. Buying votes with incentives has been a cornerstone of ” good, fair, and honest” politics since the inception of voting. Vote for me and I’ll sponsor your son in the chariot race.
      Part of this ancient problem is that so many people have asked “What are you going to do for me ?”. GREED. Power combined with greed has allowed this vile system to flourish at all levels of electioneering.
      The more that a government gives away, the more it must take away.

  3. Normal cuts the grass and plants flowers for Rivian. It only makes sense that Bloomington would want to try to outdo them. Haha!

    1. It is the TAXPAYERS of Normal who are paying for the RIVIAN scam. Too bad this money can’t come out of the employees paychecks and pensions! Koos and his criminal cohort Peterson were too stupid to spend 5 minutes on the internet checking out how Rivian ripped off Florida for millions!

    1. The only reason to vote for Rauner is redistricting. We could have had a real debate in Illinois, instead we got stuck with idiots.

      If you value continued economic prosperity, the only choice is to vote for the party who got out of the way and allowed it to happen. Hint: It’s not the Democrat.

  4. Yeah! That’s the one I’m talking about. Yeah, I’d LIKE that office, if it becomes available I’d be interested in that one. WE on the same page here Rob?
    NAW, J.B. isn’t a crook! The F.B. I. and the Russians are just trying to make him look bad..

  5. Drove by rivian the other day and saw few carsin the staff parking lot. Less than ten.
    Oh, by the way,did Green grocery get a permit to have open liquor on sight?

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