Message to readers:

Although the number of readers is WAY up, contributions aren’t. Because of that I am considering switching to a subscription website.  The cost would be minimal, maybe $5-$10 a month.  Stories would not be posted to Facebook, Twitter, and other sites like they are now. Another option is to have a premium site for people […]

Bloomington debt

By:  Diane Benjamin The charts below are from the Illinois Comptroller’s office – this is information Bloomington reported to them. Government Activity is the column to look at, especially liabilities due beyond one year.  Since it is hard to read:   Source:  Liabilities 2018 – $221,260,896 2017 – $198,984,845 2016 – $216,297,608 What is this HUGE […]

Bloomington’s other two TIF’s

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown Southwest 19TIF06402530Downtown_outhwest_1 This TIF was started in 2016. It shows it’s first income of $1,552.  Expenses to date charged to the TIF have produced a negative fund balance of 119,273. Since only $21,713 has been spent according to the report – sidewalks – the negative balance is likely caused by something […]

Bloomington’s Empire Corridor TIF

By:  Diane Benjamin Empire Street Corridor 19TIF06402530Empire_StCorridor_1 This TIF had income last year of $388,527 from increasing property values and $7,091 in interest.   Total income since the inception in 2016 is $425,624. The theory of TIF’s is development wouldn’t happen unless developers and taxpayers share in the cost.  So where did this year’s income go? […]

Illinois is Number ONE!

Planning to vote for ANY democrat?  You must have gone to public school or think you will actually get a pension someday! Source: The US States People Are Fleeing Expect higher taxes because democrats will not fix the problems. They expect the ones left to pay their bills. . . . . . . . […]

Normal’s other 3 TIF’s

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has a total of 5 TIF districts. See One Normal Place recap here:  https://blnnews.com/2019/12/27/one-normal-plaza-tif/ See Uptown recap here:  https://blnnews.com/2019/12/16/uptown-tif-facts/ Main/I55 TIF report:    19TIF06409531Main_I-55_1 This TIF originated in 2008.  Last year it generated it’s first property tax increment – $10,190. PDF page 8 shows unpaid project costs of  $8,550,000.  The TIF […]

One Normal Plaza TIF

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has 5 TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts.  The theory is economic development can be spurred by government investing money and then using the increased tax receipts to repay bonds.  It’s gambling with your money because if development doesn’t happen at high enough rates to repay what is borrowed, taxpayers get the […]

Pam Reece employment contract

By:  Diane Benjamin The current contract Pam Reece has to be Normal’s City Manager is dated March 15, 2018.  Expect a review and wage increase soon.  It will be discussed in Executive Session but MUST be voted on at a Council meeting. See the contract here;  Reece Contract Excerpts:  

Ironwood: Make sense?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal has this employee to manage the golf course: That is Total Compensation for 2018. Onsrud has another business too – he operates the Pro Shop as an independent contractor: The current agreement expires in March of 2020, here are the details from the contract signed in March of […]

Unit 5 forced my hand

By:  Diane Benjamin I was going to wait to post these letters until I received the Unit 5 emails.  Since I may not see them until January, I’m going to post the letters now. Standards Based Grading is making teachers, kids, and parents nuts.  It proves why your kids should not be in the Public […]

My Unit 5 present

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed this FOIA request on December 5th: I was then told the request is too voluminous, so it was narrowed to just emails between the two people mentioned. On December 21st I received this request: No, I’m not waiting a month for emails.  I then received this response: Guess what! I […]

Normal: Giving away your money

By:  Diane Benjamin Don’t get excited, Illinois doesn’t have prosecutors – nothing will happen. Email received by FOIA: Obviously this is a gift to every employee, they don’t have to earn the $60.  The employees don’t have contracts requiring the Town to give them Christmas presents. How much did the Town give away? That is […]

More Normal emails – Wild Country

By:  Diane Benjamin City Manager Pam Reece sends emails to the Council advising them on various issues.  The Trustees can not respond to Pam and the entire Council without violating the Open Meetings Act.  All deliberations and discussions are required to be in public. Pam does hold 2 on 1 meetings with Trustees to get […]

The Koos Chronicles

By:  Diane Benjamin All emails received by FOIA. This comment appeared in a December 4th article – Mayor Koos: https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/in-step-or-out-of-line-normal-council-wants-to/article_deebde5c-33be-5c08-bd94-828984d434bf.html The Mayor was talking about the Citizens Summitt.  He wanted only “invitees” to participate.  Stan Nord invited the Town from his Facebook page.   Koos and Pam Reece  were annoyed at the December 2nd council meeting:  […]

Carlock Mayor responds

By:  Diane Benjamin Instead of approving the acting Mayor’s comment, I decided it needs it’s own story: The Illinois Department of Labor is immaterial when giving away taxpayers dollars.  Where in the law does it say you CAN give away taxpayer dollars?  If your employees are underpaid, why didn’t you give them $1000 each?  Why […]

VenuWorks and the Farmers Market

By:  Diane Benjamin The Coliseum didn’t come close to making the projected profit before it was built.  Now it is being recreated as a community asset. At more than one City Council meeting it has been announced that around 1000 people attend the indoor Farmers Markets held at the Coliseum.  Note:  Nobody ever claims these […]

Leaves! (Bloomington)

This is what not getting leaves picked up for 5 weeks looks like, yes some are on the street to keep from killing the grass – some blew there: This is what it looks like when the crews finally show up for leaves but the road was never plowed:

Carlock: Illegal employee Christmas?

By:  Diane Benjamin Illinois Constitution – Article VIII What “public purpose” do Christmas bonuses serve?  Will the employees leave if they don’t get one?  Do the bonuses effect who the employees vote for?   From the Carlock November minutes:  Carlock November minutes Carlock only has part-time employees.  Received by FOIA: Also received by FOIA: Just because […]

This is what happens when locals don’t vote

By:  Diane Benjamin Only 9.42% of registered voters bothered to cast their ballot in last April’s local election.  https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/IL/Bloomington/95372/Web02.226438/#/turnout It is going to be very easy for more Jenn Carrillos and Jeff Crabills to get elected in 2021.    If the City Council only represents small special interest groups, citizens have no one but themselves […]

Press Release on Impeachment

​PRESS RELEASE:   EFFECTIVE UPON RELEASE 12/18/19  7:45pm RE:  Impeachment Proceedings against President Trump Connie Beard, Chairman of the McLean County Republicans released the following statement: “The impeachment process, as conducted by the House Democrats, has been abused and diminished. The framers of our constitution did not design it to be used as a weapon by […]

The Cannabis Campaign

By:  Diane Benjamin One candidate for State office showed up at both the Bloomington City Council meeting and the County Board meeting this week.  Evidently she is running her campaign on cannabis: The Council sign says:  Support on-site consumption.  She must be going for the Jenn Carrillo vote! She is running in the 88th.  Her […]

Jenn becomes immaterial by choice

By:  Diane Benjamin Jenn Carrillo is giving taxpayers a close up look at what tyranny looks like.  If you don’t agree with her agenda, she will call out her minions.  Her buddies at Black Lives Matter called the Council racist:  BLM statement Quote:    And when you knowingly and continuously pass policies that perpetuate harm […]

Koos: Elections don’t matter in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment: 6:15 Doug Fansler asks why the Town can find $25,000 off budget but couldn’t find the $96,000 to keep from raising property taxes – Pam answered it later.  The $25,000 will be taken from stockpiled savings, the $96,000 is next year’s property taxes. 7:30:  Karl Sila talked about Wild Country […]

Jenn is out of order!

Brief recap of tonight’s cannabis discussion: The city radicals lost on everything but dispensaries.  No on-site consumption, no other type of businesses for now. Jenn Carrillo constantly spoke when not being recognized and then attempted to insult the other aldermen who didn’t agree with her social justice agenda.  Crabill was right with her. Crabill.quoted studies.that […]

CIRBN continues – questions aren’t allowed + Normal tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3494 The Wild Country lease will automatically renew in January, the operators just pay taxes, maintenance, and insurance.  Taxpayers make nothing.  No council vote required. I haven’t seen anything saying the sweet deal Terri Ryburn got for the Pine St gas station ever has to be renewed either. There are more – […]

Uptown TIF: Facts

By:  Diane Benjamin This is the Uptown TIF report Normal filed with the Illinois Comptroller’s office:  19TIF06409531Downtown_volpment_1 The TIF was started in 2003 – most of it lasts for 23 years.  Part was recently extended 12 years because building isn’t finished yet.  The original TIF expires May 3, 2026. See PDF page 3: The Town […]

Bloomington Council: Transparency joke PLUS cannabis Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council held an Executive Session on December 9th to review minutes of previous Executive Sessions.  Review is required by the Open Meetings Act.  The cabal then votes on what minutes no longer need to be kept confidential. See PDF page 46:  http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1052&Inline=True The Council voted to keep minutes that are 24 […]