By: Diane Benjamin
No one showed up for Public Comment last night at the Bloomington meeting!
There is A LOT more to cover about Normal, I will get back to that meeting eventually.
First on the Agenda was a presentation from VenuWorks. I have no idea why this presentation is allowed instead of the AUDITED version. Maybe the accounting this year will be better since there were far fewer shows. In the past the audited loss has been much bigger than what the manager presents.
That didn’t stop some members of the Council from celebrating the almost $271,000 loss. Listen to Kim Bray at 12:15. She claimed it only cost each citizen $3.46 a year. Donna Boelen corrected her at 16:15. Taxpayers will be paying around $2,000,000 a year for the next 20 years to pay off the bonds. That adds almost another $26 a year for every citizen, including newborns – whether they ever attend an event or not.
The economic impact is immaterial if taxpayers are still footing the bill. If visitors spend money here because they attend a show, that’s redistribution of wealth – not economic impact. One fallacy was presented. If tickets are bought by a college kid on a credit card logged from their hometown, it appears to VenuWorks that person is coming from out of town. They have no way of knowing how many people do travel here for events.
I know the Council would love the fleeced citizens to start loving what they got stuck with. Maybe they will when it doesn’t cost them a cent, after all that’s what they were promised before it was built. I hear Mike Matejka may be planning a run for some office. Don’t forget he voted for this catastrophe.
Next on the agenda was a discussion of Lake Bloomington in the aftermath of the fire.
Summary: Go Big or Go Home.
The city isn’t planning to just replace the building that burned. Jim Karch and crew are combining it’s replacement with the Water Master Plan. He called it “Fire and Opportunity”. He starts at 22:30. This is a draft that will be brought to the Council in the future. Items being considered: shared maintenance shop, locker rooms, showers for employees, dedicated work spaces, ADA bathrooms, parking including covered parking, and moving the ranger station. Total plan $1.2 million, they already have the money. Karch wants to hire a consultant, no estimate of that cost yet.
This slide was presented showing what the City expects to receive from insurance from the fire:
The rest on the meeting was about cannabis. The appointees to the Task Force will be on the agenda next Monday. I don’t know why some people on the Council are pretending they will vote to not allow sales in Bloomington. Jenn Carrillo wants to promote Bloomington cannabis as a tourist attraction.
The rest of us wonder how a state that banned smoking in bars etc. in the interest of public health, will probably regulate vaping in the interest of public health, now legalized inhaling marijuana so it can be taxed. There is no proof the black market will disappear in favor of buying it from limited government approved sources. Of course the state is billing legalization as “adult use”. Yep, that will work.