Normal: Financial Trends

By:  Diane Benjamin

I’ve heard from numerous sources State Farm is not done downsizing their workforce.  If local governments don’t tighten their belts, the flight of residents will do it for them.

These numbers were complied from what Normal reported to the Comptroller’s office:  Source: Normal – Warehouse

pop normal


Note the number of employees.  Remember Normal claiming employees were cut.  Also look at the EAV, according to the Financial Trends Report presented Monday the outlook is positive.   PDF page 6–2018-19

Below are some recent home sales in Normal.  Every property I looked at selling above $300,000 was sold at a loss, some selling for less than $300,000 did also.  Houses selling below $200,000 mostly sold for a minimal profit.  This information came from Zillow and verified on the County website if available.

2608 Red Rock Rd  Sold 3/18 for $318,000   Sold September 2019 for $290,000  (28,000)

2514 Fieldstone Court  Sold 3/12 for $308,917   Sold September 2019 for $300,000  (8,917)

1724 Coralstone Way Sold 7/15 for $400,000 – Sold 7/18 $279,605 – Sold September 2019 for $231,000  (169,000)

1347 Pine Forest Dr  Sold 8/18 for $312,500   Sold September 2019 for $289,500 (23,000)

2500 Heather Ridge Dr  Sold 2/07 for $399,000   Sold August 2019 for $392,500 (6,500)

1113 Travertine Rd  Sold 12/15 for $391,500  Sold August 2019 for $326,500  (65,000)

If your home is in this price range or higher and you haven’t filed a complaint to your assessed value, it may be too late.  See the deadlines by township:

Meanwhile, Normal needs to keep an eye on their EAV or your property taxes will be raised to compensate!

This part of the Financial Trends Report is hilarious:

Property tax rates

Of course property tax rates are “P”, the Trustees have proven over and over they aren’t afraid to increase them.  The Community Comparison is a joke, people leave Illinois because of property taxes.  They don’t move to another community because their rates are slightly lower.

See PDF page 7 – Pension Cost–2018-19

Normal doesn’t classify Police and Fire Pensions.  Let’s go back to the Comptroller’s site – this table was compiled from the data Normal submitted:

pension funding

Note both pensions were better funded in 2014 than they are now.  Normal should have classified both as NEGATIVE.  As reported yesterday, funding pensions is not required by property taxes.  Normal just does it so they can claim they have no other choice but to raise your taxes.

Also on PDF page 7 is a POSITIVE outlook for debt.  What are the facts?

Back to the Warehouse:

Debt isn’t just made up of money borrowed, pensions and post employment benefits are also debt.  The chart was compiled from the data Normal submitted:

total debt norm

The numbers in red look suspicious.  Note pension debt keeps growing while bond debt is decreasing slowly.

Look at the total debt.  Next look at the population which evidently includes college students.  How many people will actually be paying off the debt? It won’t be 54,000+.

This is what Normal thinks is a “Positive” outlook?

Normal may be hiring another employee only to convince you everything is fine.  They won’t call that person a propagandist, but facts won’t matter.




10 thoughts on “Normal: Financial Trends

  1. Since State Farm is being disrupted by thousands of InsurTech companies and has refused to ditch its agent focused business model, we are at the beginning of an unending cycle of downsizing of this company. They will have NO CHOICE except to cut people and lower salaries. Yes they have billions in reserve but what company will pour its reserves into a money losing business just to keep it alive?


    1. But yet, community leaders refuse to admit the obvious. Most will point to employment numbers that do take into account lower salaries and management level ones that will never return. Like Diane points out, SF is not done yet. They are currently reshuffling the deck chairs just so some long term employees will still have jobs at any rate. Most will be lucky to make it to retirement before being bought out or let go. BN’s best days are behind her. Instead of addressing the problem, our leaders are more concerned with marijuana legalization, overpriced apartment buildings and giving handouts to a start-up company that has no track record of success. They are more concerned with trendiness than real job creation that supports their follies.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Spot on, MPeabody. State Farm jobs coming into the community vs. going out of the community could be 1-to-1 in terms of headcount, but are far from 1-to-1 in terms of salaries, skillset, and vocation, based on what I’ve heard. Claims, call center, and other lower-skill jobs are likely to remain and perhaps even grow here. Tech, leadership, and other high-skill jobs, meanwhile, continue to move to the other hubs. None of the local leaders are talking about State Farm, and are likely lying when they claim to have a dialog with the Farm. Our so-called leaders took for granted that SF would always be here and would remain committed to the community. They should have prepared for something like this 10-20 years ago. There’s still time to change direction. Yet, the denial continues.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly right! This area is riding a wave that was created in the 20th Century. The leadership refuses to see how that wave is losing strength and headed to become just a ripple. All one has to do is look around the area (and nation) to see the results of one industry or one factory towns that lost their sole economic drivers. Head over to Galesburg if you want to see our future. Yet the leadership here (city and business) believe that everything is going to continue exactly like it has for the foreseeable future.

        And when the first real wave of job loss comes at State Farm and the ripple effect that is created pulses across our area effecting hundreds of families, what will the leadership do? They have yet to even admit there is a really dangerous 400 pound Gorilla in the room. They are completely unprepared for anything but business as usual. We need the A team working on this and we have the D – team in charge instead.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If you’re selling a house at a loss, especially in these upper brackets, regardless of the community, to me it means one or more of the following: (1) you must move and for whatever reason have no choice; (2) your desire to move outweighs the financial loss; and/or, (3) you have enough accumulated wealth (i.e. disposable income) and/or solid future potential income so as to be able to take the loss. None of this is good. The people with money are continuing to leave town. Don’t they know we’re getting a (taxpayer-funded) brewpub in Uptown Normal and “luxury” apartments in Downtown Bloomington?! It’s as if people are moving to communities with job growth. Sadly, our local establishment leaders think it’s the other way around.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Food for thought. Louisville, Colorado IS one of the highest per capita income cities in the U.S. And being near Boulder, it FEEDS off it’s laurels and talent. Although on a smaller scale then SF, STORAGE TECH WAS a MAJOR employer there years back and had a large campus, They were successful and gaining steam non-stop. THEN, the tech market switched, and they went in the basement, finally just about going bankrupt, and in Louisville, they left SEVERAL large office buildings empty. Don’t think it can happen here? Neither did the people of Louisville either.
    NOT FAMILIAR with Storage Tech? And as an aside, Louisville IS gaining people.. Look it up on Wikipedia.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We must always remember that State Farm is now and in the future (to a greater extent) going to have to compete with companies that are using technology instead of people. State Farm’s agent model is extremely inefficient and (I have heard) gobbles up 35% of every premium paid. They also appear to want to be dependent on humans to do the work that is increasingly being done by technology in other insurance companies. So what does this mean for the workers at State Farm? It means lower pay and a high production work environment. Increasingly, AI Chatbots will be used in call centers and customer service areas around the world. If State Farm continues to resist the wave of technology that is sweeping the insurance industry, they will be unable to compete. So workers at State Farm can say goodbye to the family atmosphere and hello to the State Factory Farm.

    Liked by 1 person

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