Corrected: Like Uptown? You will love the debt!

The chart has been corrected.   Normal actually has FIVE loans they are only paying interest on.  Debt payments in FY 2020 total $5,549,176.  Interest is $3,344,176.  TIF revenue will not cover the payments.

(This was incredibly difficult to do!)

By:  Diane Benjamin

The theme for Monday’s Normal Town Council meeting was we LOVE Uptown.  Kathleen Lorenz (2:39:40) mentioned a disconnect between the Town and the people forced to pay for it.  She wants taxpayers to believe Uptown is an investment.  Lorenz wants an “elevator speech” to tell the story of Uptown.  The finance director claims a small percent of the budget goes to paying off debt.  That is because it has been spread out over MANY decades.  Of course that increases the interest cost significantly.

One thing always left out of Uptown spending is how much INTEREST is charged on the money they borrowed.  Uptown didn’t cost $90,000,000, that is just principle.  Don’t forget Uptown 2.0 is still planned even though Uptown 1.0 isn’t done.

From the Financial Statements – PDF page 177 and following

The Town has three loans they are only paying interest on.  In 2020 the Town is  making the first payments on a loan taken out in 2012.  

Normal Debt 3-31-2019




From the CAFR – just the applicable pages:  Normal’s Debt

The interest of $41,193,179 is what they have LEFT to pay, it doesn’t include what they have already paid.  Look closely at the chart, two loans show interest is more than the original loan.

This is what Normal reported to the Comptroller’s office as of 3/31/2018:

debt 2018

That means:

In one year the Town of Normal only paid off $1,600,000 of the debt.  (88,125,000 – 86,525,000)

The TIF report (when issued) will have more information.  As it stands now taxpayers will be in debt until 2040 just for Uptown.  The Town could refinance and extend the payments even farther, or they could borrow even more money.  Does the TIF revenue cover the payments now?  I won’t know until that report is issued.

Below is the TIF Revenue reported as of 3/31/2018 – it probably didn’t cover both principle and interest:  18TIF Downtown_Development

TIF 2018

The Town is gambling that increased revenues will pay the bonds, if they don’t taxpayers will be paying the bill.  I would compare this to buying an expensive car because I can afford the payment.  I would have to ignore it takes 7 years to pay it off and interest adds 50% to the cost.

What’s your “elevator speech” for the debt Kathleen?  “Normal” people don’t gamble the future for shiny and new, especially when it isn’t their money.  

13 thoughts on “Corrected: Like Uptown? You will love the debt!

  1. So they need a propaganda slogan that people can repeat to help them ignore the reality of the Upscale Boondoggle and what it has done to a nice little downtown, which had zero debt.
    Seriously, there is a very good reason I call the mayor Fuhrer Koos. Here we have one of his brown shirts suggesting they make slogans to defend their OBVIOUS huge mistakes in judgement that the people of Normal will have to pay for in the upcoming decades. They have build a huge marketing tool for a higher education institution that is being disrupted as I write this. So does anyone think that ISU will be herding students in to buildings to have ONE person lecture them in the year 2040? Given the rapid growth of technology and its ability to bring knowledge to people, does anyone think that ISU will be bringing thousands of students to their campus in 10 years? Chances are that ISU will be radically different in less than 5 years (if not completely out-of-business). So Fuhrer Koos and his brown shirts have invested 100 million dollars in a marketing tool for an institution that is being disrupted by technological innovation. Needless to say there will not be bronze statues of Fuhrer Koos and Reich Minister Peterson standing in Upscale Normal in the future. Time will prove them to be hapless idiots who did everything wrong and inspite of the mountains of evidence to the contrary believed they did everything right.

  2. But, Diane how silly of you. Everything is marketed these days, from Uptown 1s to cell phones, and cars, by prominent displays of the monthly payment. And just like on TV, where you’d have to record every commercial in order to replay the literally itty bitty fine print at the bottom of the screen as it appears for 1/2 second or less, government attempts to do the same thing. Fortunately, there those, like you, who pour through the fine print at the bottom of their (smoke) screen.

  3. It is time to break out the windex and the exhaust fans. Smoke and mirrors will not allow our Towns, our Cities, and our Nation to move forward. Voting is a lesser solution. Participation is our only option. We must communicate with our politicians and our government officials.
    If you have a computer you can do this. If you have never met them, do so, and look them in the eyes when you do. Our greatest problem facing us is that politicians must lie to get elected.
    “…when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.”

  4. Looks like the PR effort is in full swing, judging by the Pantagraph fluff piece with the TIF consultant calling Uptown a success. Koos, Lorenz, and the gang are desperately circling the wagons trying to stem the tide of angry citizens. Koos speaks like he’s in the student recruiting department at ISU, while McCarthy sounds just plain ridiculous when suggesting that the new brewpub will be a destination for out of towners looking for craft beer….he even compared it to Portillos, with a straight face no less. Perhaps, a snazzy marketing jingle for Uptown will do the trick, eh Kathleen? Better yet, wayfinding signs like Downtown Bloomington, which will direct cars to all the wonderful things in Uptown, except a convenient place to park. These clowns continue to double-down on Uptown as a “success” and an “investment” in the community while dodging growing heat from voters that are stuck with the tab. The Uptown supporters in elected office are only digging a bigger hole, politically and economically.

  5. Oh my gosh. Those financial figures are obscene. All spending needs to stop and go to zero based budgeting to justify each expense. What is mentally wrong with these people. They have no right to put taxpayers on the hook for millions of wasted dollars. If we don’t boot them out we are also to blame.

  6. “In Normal we plan our work and work our plan.” Kathleen has said this many times, repeating what Cheryl Gaines said during public comment Monday night. What more of an “elevator speech” does she need? There’s no way to spin this any other way. Uptown is a boondoggle and the people of Normal are finally woke.

    1. I wonder if there is a recording of them “planning” to spend taxpayer money on bills they don’t owe? I can’t understand for one second why Pam Reece, and anyone who endorsed the payment of taxes they don’t owe, still has a job. Gone in a heartbeat in the private sector. And if the person had fiduciary responsibility, an attempt to recover damages as well.

    2. I wish there was something mentally wrong with these people, Elizabeth Gruber. Unfortunately, we cannot blame that or even ignorance. No, they don’t get off the hook that easily. No, their plans are purposeful and deliberate. They intend to increase the debt to astronomical levels. That is their goal. Also, they fully expect to come crying to the voters that they need more and must increase taxes. Confiscating our wealth is part of the plan, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE DEMONSTARTED THEIR INABILITY TO PROPERLY SPEND OUR MONEY THUS FAR. Bottom line, they are derelict in their fiduciary responsibility to the tax paying citizens of Normal. (Not including Stan and Karyn of course.)

  7. Question #1: How much will this “elevator” marketing cost the taxpayers?
    Question #2: How many dollars in real spending is needed to generate that amount of tax revenue to repay the loans?

    By the time this infrastructure is close to being paid off, it will be crumbling with not enough money to pay for maintenance.

  8. This is a little off subject but I want to talk about it anyway. What Diane is exposing and what we are writing in our comments “is” changing the dynamics of the political system in both of our towns. Regular working people are reading what is being written here and it is dramatically changing the political landscape. And don’t for one minute think that the establishment is not reading what Diane is exposing and our commenting about them, because they most certainly are. So for those who comment regularly…keep it up and if you have never commented…. please take the time to speak your mind and tell the establishment here that you are not taking their lies and BS anymore.

    And finally, if you are not helping Diane out with a small donation, you should. Credit card or like me, I use a monthly donation from PayPal. She has help our community in ways that are hard to quantify. Most of us can afford $10 a month to help save our communities from the socialist liberal elites who now control it. Pledge a little money each month to help Diane out today.

  9. Thanks for the update, Diane and the corrected figures. I would point out that you are a CPA and if this is difficult for you to sift through, then imagine what it is for the average guy. Don’t think for one minute that’s not by design. The town of Normal hopes that people will get lost in the weeds in all this, assume everything’s on the up and up and just walk away from it all believing all the new development hype (Kathleen’s elevator speech). That’s how it’s been for quite a few years and they’ve been able to pull all this off with little to no resistance with most of the local media carrying their water. Those days are over. Karyn Smith teaches accounting at one of the nation’s top accounting programs and she’s able to work her way around the numbers and cut to the chase. Stan Nord is no dummy either. I agree with Neversilent. The truth is on our side. Those in power have the greater burden of defending it. The best defense is a good offense.

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