By: Diane Benjamin
Normal has gone from 10 minute meetings with no discussion before spending millions of dollars to bloviating just to hear themselves talk. I can’t possibly recap everything that happened, so I will pick what I think is important. The other media can fill you in on what the Town thinks happened.
Last night’s meeting was ridiculously long and accomplished little other than spending your money and flowery speeches to justify it. Stan Nord attempted to change the proposed Public Comment policy to allow any topic before the meeting, his proposal couldn’t get a second. So, at the next meeting citizens have to still be awake when the meeting finally concludes to exercise your 1st Amendment right to address grievances with your government.
ONE PERSON thought you deserve better – SIX didn’t.
This Council really thinks what they do is their business, they do not understand they are doing YOUR business with YOUR money.
One good thing about the change is it allows citizens to call out their vanity spending immediately after they vote for it. Of course citizens have to sign up in advance since they have no intention of meeting in person.
The biggest attacks on Stan Nord, which are just normal, were over spending gas tax money. Whether State or local taxes, the Council votes to spend money you pay at the pump on transportation other than fixing the roads. Remember government calling gas taxes user fees? People who use the roads should pay to for them?
Not in Normal. Bikes have a higher priority. Yes, West College isn’t about resurfacing a road. It is about grand designs with bike paths and sidewalks to an industrial area. Stan Nord had to pull the information out of staff – he finally succeeded. This video Ryan Otto, Town Engineer:
What user fees are the bikers going to pay? Will the sidewalks have tolls?
The State doubled their Motor Fuel Tax. The Farnsworth contract to design West College is being paid with State Motor Fuel Tax funds. It is expensive because the plans include more than just fixing the road. If Normal gets the State grant to extend Constitution Trail, the 20% match will also be paid from State Motor Fuel Taxes.
Is this what the State advertised when they added $.19 cents at the pump? If you drive a car you are being forced to fund projects that do nothing to make the roads drivable. Instead you get to fund Normal’s vanity projects pushed to comply with their Master Plan, no surprise that bikes are involved.
Kevin McCarthy patted himself on the back frequently last night for bringing home grant money. Free money is fun if matching funds weren’t required. Constitution Trail won’t be expanded without a grant and matching funds. Normal will get to maintain all the trails they build (or more likely not maintain them but leave that to future Councils).
Karyn Smith went on a diatribe about anyone questioning her integrity:
The discussion was on gas tax use. Well Karyn, I will question your integrity since you haven’t answered my email. Karyn keeps claiming the Town has way more road miles than DOCUMENTS state:
That statement is from a WGLT article: https://www.wglt.org/post/normal-town-council-passes-gas-tax-increase#stream/0
I pointed out in an article after that meeting the financial statements state the Town has less than half that many miles. I emailed her on October 16th:
Karyn, I don’t care what you think is false information or your integrity. If you can’t say where your number came from quit using it (she still is in emails) and quit questioning other people’s integrity.
Almost everything was pulled from the Omnibus Agenda last night. Those items were never discussed before Stan was elected. It was Kevin McCarthy’s turn to explain why bills can’t be questioned. He didn’t mention Kathleen Lorenz did question some at the last meeting, it must okay for her just not for Stan.
The two New Business items weren’t discussed until over 2 hours into the meeting. The tree inventory is now live on the Town’s website.
One note: If you planted a tree between the sidewalk and the street the Town now knows. They consider it their tree. If it dies don’t cut it down. They could be sending you a bill for killing their tree. Call the Town and tell them to remove it.
The other topic was Smart Cities. The vanity spending spree is on. That discussion starts around 2:35:00 if you want to watch. Normal plans to invest in lots of technology to make them more efficient – that’s good. It goes way behind efficient however. Mapping trees was only a tiny step.
Meanwhile, the debt and pension obligations aren’t important. I suspect when this Council gets tossed next April the new Council will get blamed when the mess these people created comes to light. It won’t be pretty folks.