Normal hands out money to friends

By: Diane Benjamin

Remember when Normal paid Illinois Arts Station $9,000 so the fire department could train for 3 days in a house they planned to demolish?

You may not know $9,000 wasn’t the only payment, the Town has contracts to pay them another $9500! Total $18,500 so the fireman could train at two houses that were going to be torn down anyway.

I remember Pam Reece giving a diatribe about how great a deal this was since travel for training is out the question,


Bloomington also found a house that was going to be demolished so their firefighters could do some training. It is owned by Habitat for Humanity.

Bloomington paid ZERO to use the house.

Received by FOIA:

Both Normal and Bloomington used houses slated to be demolished. Both were owned by non-profits. Normal paid $18,500, Bloomington paid nothing. It sure looks like Normal was handing money to their ISU buddies! Habitat could have used the $18,500 to build affordable housing while Illinois Arts Station is giving painting lessons.

We still don’t know if Normal taxpayers will be deeded the IAS property so taxpayers get the bills for maintenance (rumor) That would be the ultimate insult since Normal gets nothing but expenses and land they can never sell.

Pam Reece hands out your money to non-profit friends and sends police to small businesses just trying to survive.

FOIA emails:

Other houses Bloomington owns slated for demolition and/or donation to Habitat may also be used. Maybe the Normal fire department should talk to Bloomington and get one to use for free. Pam Reece isn’t capable of finding deals to benefit taxpayers. Friends come first.

Elections have consequences. April 6th vote to end the Normal Friends and Family plan which uses your money to redistribute wealth. The examples are numerous!






5 thoughts on “Normal hands out money to friends

  1. This $18,500 “gift” puts a burden of over $529,000 on our local businesses. Let me explain…

    The tax rate in Normal for general merchandise is 8.75%. 3.5% is given to the town and the rest goes to the state and county.

    For the town to collect $1,000 a local cashier must have $28,600 cross their register. So doing the math Pam’s choice to give $18,500 of taxpayer money requires $529,100 of general merchandise to be sold locally.

    What makes this more insulting is Pam has been instrumental in using the police and town staff to intimidate legally operating businesses from legally selling their goods. The very sales which generate the money for her to spend so freely.

    Please don’t believe that a shortage in overall in sales tax revenue will force a restraint on Normal’s spending. The town can just increase or create another tax/fee to make up for the sales tax loss. They have a history proving they can and will tax and borrow more.

    Stan Nord – Normal Council Member in the minority among the current council and mayor.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We agree, Stan, though I might also include the added liability cost, insurance, and risk assumed by the taxpayers when the City holds this or any other property. Sadly, $529,100 might be just the minimum burden. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are exactly right, the total cost will be far higher. Pam and the mayor have not shared the full agreement they made with this group. I have asked for it but nothing has been shared. Council are expected not to ask questions and just rubber stamp. Most comply.

        I know Pam has considered the town owning the property and building. Taxpayers would also cover maintenance for everything and let the art station use the property for free or nearly free. I have no idea how much this will end up costing Normal taxpayers. I expect the deal will be similar to the ISU Art gallery lease or the Sprague station lease.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW! Thank you for explaining the true cost to tax payers – that is painful to read!

    THANK YOU, Stan!! Thank you for representing the tax payers and trying to hold the Normal council and mayor accountable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. STAN! That’s GREAT that you do the MATH for the “masses” as I believe that folks in uptown do NOT understand math! And as an aside, IF the purchases were tax exempt or farm related, it would take even MORE money to pass thru the cash drawer,
    To put it in perspective, I worked at the old FURROWS back in 1987 as a cashier and on a MAJOR BUSY Saturday in the cash lane I would only do $ 12,000 in sales. THAT WAS MOVING STUFF THE WHOLE TIME AT MULTIPLES OF HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS PER HOUR!

    Liked by 1 person

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