By: Diane Benjamin
The Town of Normal reneged on their vote to not raise property taxes. It was obviously orchestrated by the staff and elected officials who can’t live within their means.
It started with the guy I hear wants to be the next mayor – Kevin McCarthy. See 26:30.
He would have been hilarious if it wasn’t tragic for taxpayers. Shed tears now, the Town needed to cut a measly $96,000 from somewhere to fund pensions without raising property taxes. You can easily tell this discussion was setup because Koos immediately knew the amount of McCarthy’s motion wasn’t right. Instead of needing $96,000, they needed $96,834. McCarthy thinks the Town bond rating is high because they don’t use property taxes for operations, what a joke. The bond rating is based on the ability to tax. Agencies know the Council has no problem creating more revenue when necessary. They easily vote to steal it from you.
The Council voted 4-3 last month to not raise property taxes and fund pensions for 1 year at 90% instead of 100%. Koos, McCarthy, Cummings, and City Manager Reece lost that battle.
If you lose – call for a re-vote!
Stan Nord (32:00) produced a list of possible cuts, he was ignored.
The Benedict Arnold of the night was Kathleen Lorenz. She wants a Propaganda Manager even if your taxes are increased. They have meetings twice a month and sometimes some extra ones. They have the opportunity to get their talking points out.
37:50. Lorenz claims the average homeowner will pay $6.00 more a year for “professional communications”.
She bought up the fire station in BlackStone Trails. Lorenz claimed the Town needed better talking points to combat public opinion. If they had a professional producing talking points the citizen’s uprising could have been avoided. (And Stan and Karyn’s election)
40:50. Karyn Smith called this vote a bad faith message. She wants better communications, but adding a staff person that will contribute to the pension problem is a problem. She thinks the Council can find the $96,000 without raising property tax rates.
44:00 Scott Preston stated it is Council policy not to re-hash prior votes. (After last night it is open season to rehash votes!)
45:45 Chemberly Cummings claims the Council tries to do what’s best for the community at large. She claimed they always funded pensions at 100%. That is misleading since pensions aren’t close to 100% funded. They are hoping to achieve 100% by 2040, one recession can wipe out any gains they have made. Poor Chem wants the Communication Director too. Obviously nothing can be cut anywhere, cannabis isn’t going to produce any revenue, and the refinance savings from bonds can’t be used to fund yet another salary, benefits, and pensions. She’s willing to pay $6 more a year – you should be willing too.
51:30 – Stan Nord talked about the rent free properties, cannabis tax, bike share program, sports complex studies, refinance savings as ways to find the less than $100,000. He called what Normal and Illinois does: Death by a 1000 taxes. People are leaving the state because of them. He stated reversing this vote will make people distrust government.
The citizens of Normal get taxed by 9 units of government, What if all of them raised taxes $6 a year? That’s $54 in one year. Unit 5 massively raised taxes – much more than $6 a year. Obviously the Town of Normal does not respect your right to keep your money. They need it worse than you do.
51:20: McCarthy claimed the increase is 8/10ths of 1% increase. He ignores the budget is $100,000,000 and he can’t find a cut of $96,000 to cut anywhere.
54:10 – Kathleen Lorenz thinks going back to 100% pension funding will be much harder next year if they don’t do it now – she voted for the 90% previously. She is the reason your property taxes will be going up. She betrayed the voters who re-elected her. You should demand her resignation today!
57:50 – Lorenz continues claiming she hears over and over from citizens that more transparency is needed. More on that when the discussion gets to the “Citizens Summit” that isn’t really for citizens.
1:00:15 – Scott Preston talked about the constant tax and fee increases and the citizens being led to believe property taxes would not be going up. He does not want to raise taxes without any notification to citizens.
1:02 – Karyn Smith is appalled at raising property taxes just to hire an employee.
1:03:45 – Chris Koos considers this vote correcting an error! According to him, staff was caught off-guard with the last vote. Does the Council set policy or the staff Mayor?
Koos cut off comments. Note – there was no one at public comment last night because the citizens believed the issue was settled.
Preston, Smith, and Nord voted NO. The rest stabbed the taxpayers in the back.
At 1:09:30 Stan Nord tried to table the vote until the next meeting to allow citizens a chance to respond. Of course it failed. The same three voted yes, the others said “screw citizens”.
1:23:30 – Koos talked about the Citizens Summit. He claims it came about because of their retreat (nobody attended because it was 2 days during the day and not on video). He claims the Council agreed to invite 5-7 people each (stacked!) . He claimed the Council is not allowed to interact, it is for the invitees to do a deep dive into Town activities.
Reece claims the staff will get it posted. She claims she is in a difficult position because Stan Nord posted it on his Facebook page. She claims that means it is a political rally. Congrats Ms. Reece – you confirmed hearing from citizens is illegal in your opinion. Pam must not know there isn’t an election until 2021 and Stan will not be on the ballot!
Stan Nord replied the image on his Nord for Normal Facebook page clearly stated it was hosted by the Normal Town Council. He stated he merely got the word out to citizens. He also stated other Council members have Facebook pages and announce events too. Stan also claimed Koos’s comments are incorrect – they never voted to only have 35-40 participants. It was planned with Lyle Sumek as an open meeting.
I predict Koos and Reece will use the above to discount whatever citizens say at this Summit. Citizens who aren’t personally invited will be considered immaterial.
Koos had to comment again, obviously he doesn’t want citizens to show up. Staff has Code of Ethics issues they have to comply with – evidently reversing a vote isn’t one of them and neither is free rent for friends. Koos cut off Stan when he tried to comment again.
1:32 Cummings made it clear she doesn’t want to hear from citizens either. She only wants to hear about the great things happening in Normal.
1:35:45 – Scott Preston stated he is disheartened by the failure of the motion to table because citizens had no notice or opportunity to comment. He claims the Council has always had a policy of allowing time for citizens, they easily could have delayed the vote.
1:37:20 – Lorenz claims she carefully invited 5-7 people to the Citizens Summit. She obviously doesn’t want the riff-faff derailing the meeting. (I bet Koos invited Dave Shields) She doesn’t like the “come one come all” approach Stan Nord used. Citizens won’t be involved in the budgeting process since it will be another all day event. She claims the Town’s intentions are good, she is afraid that will get lost.
1:43:00 McCarthy wants the communications position. He claims the process is completely transparent. Yes Kevin, the meeting is on video. If you plan to run for mayor your comments and vote will be used against you.
McCarthy went on to say the trains being sold out to Chicago this weekend is a sign of success. Of course it was a long Thanksgiving weekend with tons of ISU students going home and coming back. Seriously Kevin – you didn’t expect it to be sold out? Is Amtrak sold out on other weekends? You skipped that report!
I bet the Communication Director is starting right after January 1st. I bet they already have a person picked out. Whoever it is won’t be able to create a narrative to overcome this assault by government on the citizens. Normal isn’t governed, they are ruled. The Town is tyranny by people who think there is no price to pay for their betrayal. The last two elections taught them NOTHING.