Why Normal thinks their debt is fine

By:  Diane Benjamin

Previous story based on the Budget Session documents:  https://blnnews.com/2020/01/28/normal-expect-property-tax-increases-to-continue/

It has always annoyed me when Koos and company claim Normal’s debt isn’t a problem.  They think it isn’t because they are NOT looking at the big picture, they only look at what payments will be required every year.

They don’t care about the total cost of borrowing:  INTEREST

They don’t care about bonds they are only paying interest on.

They are looking at the total payments every year and saying we can do that!

Would you buy a million dollar house if you could finance it for 40 years?  The principle is the same, you can afford the payments and die before it’s paid off.  The people who inflicted Normal’s debt will be long gone before it’s paid off.

Mark Peterson (former City Manager) is gone with a monument to his accomplishments in Uptown.  Other Trustees are gone, the mayor WILL BE GONE.  They will pay no price for the debt they created.

Go back to the Budget Session documentation:  Normal 1-16-2020 budget session

PDF page 217:

debt to revenue

Now go to PDF page 218 for a list of all bonds outstanding.  The Town did a two page report which makes it hard to read, the Principle and Interest payments are on the next page.  I cut the two pages together for you:


Do you pay interest only on a large part of your debt?  All those highlighted areas in the first column are bonds the Town is paying NO principal on.  Uptown will need another revitalization before it is paid for. 

Obviously there is a problem when more interest is paid in a year than goes to decreasing the debt!  (See the totals)

What are each of the bonds for?

Good question, I don’t know the answer because I can’t find descriptions.  It is safe to assume the majority of the General Fund Bonded Debt is for Uptown.

This morning I heard a discussion on the radio about what kids need to know but frequently aren’t taught.  Many callers mentioned debt and credit cards.  Others mentioned paying extra on your house payment to pay it off sooner.  Nobody mentioned how to bury yourself in debt to get nice stuff because only the payment matters.

The Town of Normal is like your dead-beat nephew who convinces kind-hearted granny his financial problems aren’t his fault.  He then steals granny’s money.  The Town of Normal thinks you are granny!  That is why your taxes go up every year.

I’ve got other stories based on the Budget Session document.  I’m going to wait a week or so to let these two stories sink in.

Share the stories or your friends and neighbors in Normal will never know the truth.






6 thoughts on “Why Normal thinks their debt is fine

  1. I heard a rumor that Smileys sportshop was broken into and a batch of handguns were stolen on1/9/20 at 3:am. This is a serious crime… did the pantograph miss this? Handguns on the street of blm or did they go to chicago.

  2. Koos and his “crowd” WANT to leave an “uptown” legacy, and they WILL, but NOT the kind they desire, more of an “arena” type that Bloomington has..

  3. Koos & Company (the “professional staff” are all from the “throw away” generation, where everything is marketed and sold based on the payment per month. There is no discussion on any marketing media about the QUALITY and LONGEVITY of the product. Its all about how much the monthly payment is.

    They run the Town the same way.

  4. I’ve heard two excuses for our debt load, neither of which are valid:
    – We’re within ‘acceptable ranges’. This is technically true. But when Normal has a proud history of ‘We have zero debt’, there should be a Good Reason to move away from that, and that has never been given, as far as I know. This leads into
    – ‘It’s like having a mortgage’. No, it’s not. Why do you need a mortgage? Two reasons: First, to buy a good that you would otherwise have to rent anyway so that in the long term you’ll have a residual asset to show for it. That not only doesn’t apply, Normal is doing the exact Opposite in uptown circle: renting space when they should be buying, purposely paying More than they should. Second, to have a good that you otherwise would not be able to obtain until it was too late. A house is a stable place to raise a family. For most people, if they waited until they saved enough to pay cash for their house, either the kids would be grown and gone or it would be arguably too late in life to have children. The town doesn’t have any such time constraints as it will exist theoretically forever without any biological limitations.

  5. Of course Koos does not care about the debt. Its not HIS debt its the TAXPAYERS DEBT! Koos has one mindset: MORE POWER! Nothing else matters. You would think that a business owner,Koos would be the first to demand his minions spend less pay bills on time and get their money ducks in a row. I shudder to think what his business numbers look like if the state of Normal’s books look like they do. I am not a rocket science and got D’s in math but I make darn sure I dont spend more than I earn! Gee wouldnt it be great that every time I get a notion to buy a new home/ car/whatever, I could just tell others to pony up more money!

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