Debt: Normal vrs Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin

As of 3/31/18 Normal had total debt of $89,823,286.  $88,125,000 won’t be paid off until 2041.  Interest rates range from 2.00% to 6.30%.


As of 4/30/18 Bloomington had total debt of $242,010,034.  $57,095,000 won’t be paid off until 2035.  The interest rates aren’t listed.  $173,646,119 is liabilities for pensions and associated post employment benefits (OPEB).


Normal didn’t include pensions and OPEB in their total debt load, add $28,584,994 for those.  That brings their total debt to $118,408,280.


The population of Normal is listed as 54,284 – debt is $2,182 for every resident.   Source

The population of Bloomington is listed as 77,934 – debt is $3,106 for every resident.   Source

If you haven’t used The Warehouse on the Illinois Comptroller’s site, try it:

Every level of government must submit detailed reports.

The Peoria Fire Department took a $3,000,000 cut in their budget for 2019.  The only two rescue squads have been taken out of service, also 18 employees.  Peoria had a $6 million deficit.  Taxes were also increased.  In 2018 they responded to a record number of calls.    Source

Peoria population 112,883.  Debt is $188.224,060 + $76,523,156 OPEB for a total of $264,747,216.  That’s $2,346 for every resident.

Source  and  Source

Pension funds really want investment income to make up for decades of not properly funding pensions.  Obviously this year the markets were little help.  I predict pensions funded percentages did not go up even has MILLIONS of dollars were thrown at the funds.

Peoria was forced to make huge cuts to public safety with less debt per citizen than Bloomington.  

Bloomington will soon be looking at next year’s budget.  It will likely include funding to replace O’Neil pool.  It should include firing VenuWorks and not replacing them since history has proven the arena can never break even.  How many public safety personnel will Bloomington sacrifice so the budget balances?  What taxes will they raise?

Stay tuned.  Tari’s “structural deficit” isn’t going away.  It is only a “structural deficit” because they refuse to make cuts.

Normal is still pursing a sports complex that will not break even.  They are preparing a budget for the year beginning April 1, 2019.  Get ready for more debt.




20 thoughts on “Debt: Normal vrs Bloomington

  1. Bloomington and Normal always compare themselves to neighboring communities, especially when it’s in their own best interest. I would not look to B/N to replicate Peoria in this aspect. I’m curious how Joliet is doing right now?….


  2. And with ole J.B. leading the circus, ALL the clowns in the state will jump in the clown car! By December, we’ll be too broke to buy air to honk the horn!


  3. Why? Because Rauner was doing such a bang up job for Illinois? Three years without a budget did huge damage to the state and its finances. Rauner was an ideologue who couldn’t run a flea circus much less a state. Governing means compromise and working with the legislature. If you so unhappy move. Don’t let the door hit you…


    1. Logcabin… you are funny…. “If you so unhappy move. Don’t let the door hit you…” Are we not discussing the financial situation of two cities that are currently in an economic decline which is only going to worsen as State Farm and ISU continue to be disrupted?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. But Townie, Lawrence, and Old Stanky can be off topic? Apparently. You banning of people is getting out of hand. How many people have you banned? Almost everyone that disagrees with you. If you’re going to ban people because you don’t like what they have to say, then you should resort to mimeographing this blog. That way you can mail it to people who only agree with you 100 percent.


  4. Hey there Logcabin, nah it was Mike Madigan you fool. Nothing gets past him,,,nothing gets to the govenrors desk without his approval. Mike Madigan a fixture for 20 years as the MAIN Shitcago pain in-the-you-know-what for every governor. Not to mention that Madigan swore when Rauner was elected the he (MM) would stand in Rauners way (and he did). Twenty years of one Mike Madigan and you want to blame Rauner on a 4 year term. Typical liberal. Now you’re banned, lol. Thanks Diane for not letting the door hit Logcabin in the arse on the way out.


  5. The leadership of Bloomington and Normal believe in higher taxes, big government, boondoggle projects, and government-led economic development. These are facts that are not in dispute. The leadership is unlikely to reverse course. To do so, would mean to question their very own approach and history of governance. Like most politicians, they’ll never admit to making a mistake. Regardless of who is or was the Governor or President (and his respective party), the so-called leaders of Bloomington-Normal have and continue to lead the collapse of the communities they claim to serve. Not someone at the state- of federal-level that you or I might not like. (Different debate and a different thread.) Nothing short of a complete reversal of current local policy will save this community from becoming the next Decatur or, worse still, Detroit.


    1. Yes because the leadership in both of our cities is out-of-touch with the realities of the economic situation here and in the nation in general. There are areas in the country right now that are booming. But the people here elected very liberal (not very smart) mayors who continue to prop up their ideology with 20th Century solutions to 21st Century problems. They both believe that government is the solution. Illinois and Bloomington/Normal is driving people to other states with taxes and more regulations. Instead of master plans, complete streets and publicly financed capital “catalyst” projects we need lower taxes and less regulation. Our president has moved our national economy into it’s current boom with lower taxes and less regulation. The leadership here would never cut budgets or taxes or regulations but that is what needs to be done.

      What is amazing me recently is the outcry about the recent crime spree. Most people don’t understand what is happening to our nice little towns. Yes, as BN Deserves Better commented on the fact that the current leadership is aiding the economic decline here. With economic decline comes many very negative things. One of which is unemployment and the lack of opportunity. Unemployment and the lack of opportunity can and will produce more crime. If you think that it is OK that our city and business leadership does not even want to talk about the area’s economic decline and the disruption that is happening at State Farm, then you should be OK with the negative spin offs that result from their head-in-the sand attitudes and policies? When it comes to crime? You have not seen anything yet… this is just the beginning….


      1. I was surprised to see some of the locations of the crime being committed. I’d look at a google map and say really there. I would have never guessed it to be there. Where are these people coming from?

        The whole area in my opinion is becoming trashy. I pull out of Schnucks parking lot and here is some guy sitting there begging for money. Since Macy’s closed I guess they picked the next higher clientele location. Good grief. A nearly empty mall which you can’t fully blame the city for but then again they sure didn’t do much to attract new business to the area of the mall to help increase the traffic flow.

        What we have here are some thumb twirling mayors and city council members and administrative staff counting on their attractiveness to bring new business here. I guess they haven’t looked in a mirror to see how ugly they are, I drive over to Iowa City to the medical clinic and that town is booming. Hey they even have a Trader Joe’s. Dumb clucks here haven’t a clue. Why I’d venture to say 100 X times people travel to that medical clinic verses some dumb sports complex. Simple minds simple pleasures I always say and simple minds they do have.

        Why they’d get all excited if a candle stick maker opened shop in downtown Blommington or Uptown Normal. .


  6. I don’t know but if I was getting any retirement I’d take the lump sum and run as fast as I could to deposit it before the check bounces.

    There is no way these pensions can stay in place without adequate funding.
    Back in 2018 some court out east ruled that I think it was a city could lower pension payouts because the funds just weren’t available. They sure can’t print it just to pay it. That should have opened some eyes but I guess not. i wish I could remember where that was at. It was buried in the news.

    I was talking to a couple today while waiting at a local business and they can see the writing on the wall here locally. One major employer is shifting higher paying jobs to other locations and the jobs here locally will be lower paying jobs. So best wishes for selling that huge local home.

    How long these two cities can keep milking the tax payers remains to be seen. I wouldn’t put my eggs in a basket for that auto plant too. A lot could change before the first vehicle is even produced.

    A new pool would be nice but let’s face the facts. If it can’t pay for itself then it needs to be axed. Do like my relative did. Get a few yards of dirt and fill it in. Mowing grass is a lot cheaper than buying chlorine and pool chemicals. Not to mention the maintenance and insurance. Pools are better left to private enterprise where interested parties can be pooled to pay for it.

    Why are they pursuing some sports complex? Another dumb worthless idea!. The area would be better served by something like the city of Washington has, Five Points Washington. Has anyone checked that place out? No, I doubt it. . .


  7. Thank you for posting these numbers Diane. Please note that to get a full measure of local debt burden you also have to add in total debt held by the school districts (very large) and local townships. Then add those to your share of the state debt burden (about $110,000 per taxpayer, or $220,000 per household) and you quickly realize that the total debt cannot and will not be repaid.

    Liked by 1 person

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