By: Diane Benjamin
Make sure you read to the bottom!
Remember the deal Terri Ryburn got for the property at 305 Pine Street?
- Rent for her to live there is $120 a year
- Normal paid off her mortgage – $228,550.50 + another $5000
- Normal bought the lot next door for $24,000
- Terri gets to operate a gift shop on the first floor (when she isn’t closed for the winter)
Remember the $100 a month lease Normal had on the agenda for 305 S. Linden? Normal was renting cheap PLUS spending $5000 to run internet. Luckily it was pulled from the consent agenda before the meeting. It hasn’t been back since: https://blnnews.com/2019/04/14/is-normal-handing-out-a-cheap-lease/
102 W North is rented to Ohmfit Activewear for $180 a month. The lessee should be paying property taxes on this property since they are getting rent, but the County shows is exempt.
Let’s go the other direction! Would any other entity rent an entire floor of 1 Uptown Circle for more than $35,000 a month? Keep in mind NOBODY is renting the first floor and hasn’t since the building opened. Normal loaned the developer $2.75 million because of all the taxes the building would generate. The Town will receive $3,049.50 in property taxes this year, the Uptown TIF will receive $159,492.62. Zero will be collected in Food an Beverage taxes.
I’m sure I could find more examples where Normal either charged a “friends and family rate” for a lease or overpaid for properties.
Look at one more:
Normal wanted this property for Uptown 2.0. Depending on who is elected in the future, that plan should be dead. Meanwhile in 2015 these terms were extended on a year by year basis. Wild Country
The property taxes are $10,788.68 a year. Since the Smiths know Normal eventually wants to tear the building down, how much do you think they are investing in maintenance?
What does the law say about properties?
A 1974 Illinois Attorney General Opinion to Peoria County and quoting from Sherlock v Village of Winnetka,https://cite.case.law/ill/59/389/, where it was stated: “they are bound to administer property faithfully, honestly and justly, and if it [public entity] is guilty of a breach of trust by disposing of its valuable property for little or no consideration, it is regarded as acting on behalf of an individual. Using forms of legislation in committing such breach of trust does not make any difference in the act. It will not be considered an exercise of political power for public purposes, and the privilege of exemption from judicial interference terminates where legislative action ends”.
The courts have ruled municipalities have a fiduciary duty to taxpayers. The Town lawyer prepared the Wild Country agreement. Maybe nobody would want to rent that building for more, maybe they would.
The point is: Normal didn’t bid the lease. They didn’t bid the Ryburn lease. They didn’t bid the 305 S. Linden lease.
This is why Stan Nord and Karyn Smith were elected. Don’t stop Normal, you deserve better.