Normal: How much is being thrown away paying interest?

by: Diane Benjamin

First a little history. From the Pantagraph How Time Flies 1/21/2020:

Have your property taxes gone down?

Responsible adults know being able to make the payments is not a good philosophy to live by. If you want to make the neighbors jealous by living in a mansion with two expensive vehicles parked in the driveway and being buried in debt, this story isn’t for you. Most of us would rather sleep at night knowing our financial future isn’t contingent on the next economic downturn.

Refer back to the Total Debt story from Tuesday:

That story shows bonded debt of $84,320,000. The $1,432,874 loan listed below in that story doesn’t have interest – it’s money being paid back to the IEPA so it doesn’t play a part in this story.

Now jump to Normal’s CAFR – the financial statements as of 3/31/2020. PDF page 84

Business-Type activities are things like the Children’s Discovery Museum that isn’t really a business since it’s subsidized. Add the two totals in yellow and it matches the debt reported in the previous story.

By the time the Government Activities Debt is paid off the cost is 44% higher than what was borrowed. The Business-Type debt will cost another 44% more than what was borrowed.

Keep in mind, interest is always higher in the early years because the principal is higher. The actual percent for each is higher than this chart reflects.

Now see this Pantagraph article from September 2018:

The title is:

20 years after debt-free milestone, Normal stands by uptown spending

Chris Koos, Pam Reece, and Finance Director Andrew Huhn didn’t have a problem with the debt.


Refer back to the Karraker quote above. He never had any intention of reducing property taxes. Chris Koos needs to explain how the Quality of Life is better because of this debt for the citizens of Normal. Your taxes and fees keep going up. If tax revenue is up the Town is using it to pay interest and will be for decades.

The Town didn’t plan on an economic downturn. How many businesses will survive in Uptown? How many more years will the first floor of 1 Uptown Circle be empty?

Yes debt will be a campaign issue again next year.

The Town will be building bike paths out to Rivian instead of answering questions.

The budget when Chris Koos became mayor in 2003 was 43,155,928

The 2020 budget was 129,438,269

 That’s a 300% increase.

How’s the working for you Normal?






5 thoughts on “Normal: How much is being thrown away paying interest?

  1. Normal citizens need to be careful making Kent Karraker a model of fiscal responsibility. While we were debt free during his tenure as mayor, people who were a part of that (Fritzen, Reece, Gaines, etc.) will tell you it was a set up for Uptown and a massive government spending project. Karraker would not finish his last term. He resigned, moved to Florida and gifted us with Koos. Again, part of the plan. History repeats itself. That’s the Koos plan in this next election for Mayor Kevin McCarthy. A vote for Koos is a vote for McCarthy to finish the term.

    In the last mayoral election somebody told me that she could not vote for Marc Tiritilli because he didn’t have any experience. All I can say is if you want experience wasting money we don’t have, vote for Koos. Or, is it McCarthy?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ironic, isn’t it! The liberal elitists want to take taxpayer money, disproportionately more from the working poor I might add, to give to Wall Street bankers in form of interest payments. Koos’ slogan ought to “bikers and banksters”. Well, maybe Cummings could label these bankers issuing the bonds as “predatory lenders,” the Council is good at blaming everyone else for their irresponsible actions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Can’t take credit, seen it on the net. LIBERAL PRIVILEGE is the correct term and the correct target. The folks that intentially screw up whatever they touch, reap the benefits and leave with an indignant attitude blaming their rivals. It ain’t just or all white people or black or red or purple or green. It’s that elitist and wannabe elitist government or apponited by same who accept no accountablity for their actions.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. IF for ONE minute mr koos thinks that uptown is “quality of life” He really should give up smoking pot.
    The DOWNTOWN of years back had WAY more charm and character, and didn’t cost $80 million plus.

    Liked by 2 people

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