By: Diane Benjamin
Remember pre-Stan when meetings lasted about 10 minutes?
Last night was close to 3 1/2 hours mostly because items were included that didn’t need to be. The Council heard a report from Beth Whisman concerning how Cultural Arts is surviving COVID. All the the part time staff, around 40 people, are laid off while the 8 Full Time employees were congratulated by Chris Koos for staying viable while all locations are closed to in-person. Beth reported they might keep some on-line items when the lock downs end. The presentation included some people wearing masks, but some were included of people working inside the Children’s Discovery Museum without them. No hypocrisy here:
The Cultural Arts presentation didn’t need to be on top of an already long meeting, especially when spending $100,000,000 over the next 5 years was on the agenda. The Council was not provided with enough time to parse it. Koos made sure Stan Nord was limited, the others didn’t have a lot questions about particular items.
The “professional staff” forgot to update the Community Investment Plan. This project was moved up to next year:
The ONLY reason this happened was because Marc Tiritilli posted the truth on Facebook. The residents had been dealing with staff for close to 2 years who did try to help, but replacing the water Main was scheduled for two years from now before Marc’s post and subsequent publicity.
Moral: If you want something fixed that isn’t getting fixed, make lots of noise and contact people who care. Koos has known about the brown water since at least September when pictures were texted to him.
Meanwhile, no viable explanation was given for this Water Fund expense:
Since Bloomington already supplies water to Rivian, citizens are left wondering why Normal is billing them to duplicate service. Staff has stated there is no development currently happening on West College. If there is and they are keeping it a secret that would be great. Meanwhile $5,000,000 could fix other problems but now can’t be used for those.
Stan Nord asked if the spending plan is flexible. Pam Reece stated it could be depending on grants and applicable timelines. She added plans have been changed based on needs. Stan asked for examples, the only one she could think of was the Oakdale-Ruston-Grove Water Main above. Citizens need to use the Squeaky-Wheel approach to actually get what they pay for. Nothing works better than bad publicity.
There was one Public Comment at the beginning of the meeting by Karl Sila. He will be on the April 6th ballot. His topic was the Liquor License ordinance. See 6:15.
Koos had 3 appointments that normally sail through and we find out later who he appointed. Last night that didn’t happen after Kathleen Lorenz asked for each to be considered separately. Koos found out appointments can be discussed after attorney Day informed him they could. Stan Nord voted against two. He spoke to Rachael Lund, recently defeated County Board candidate and topic of this story: https://blnnews.com/2020/10/30/who-is-the-real-rachel-lund/
Lund told Stan Koos asked her to apply for the Planning Commission. Koos claimed she had applied and he picked her. More conspiracy theories! (See the first story) Nord, Lorenz, and Preston voted against her, the other two didn’t comment. Koos claimed he doesn’t look for citizens with planning experience for the Planning Commission.
Nord also voted against the Connect Transit Board appointee. Stan spoke to him too and he was oblivious to all the recent revelations about problems. Stan pointed out Koos left a seat open for over a year by refusing to appoint people who asked to be appointed. The person Koos appointed was Mandava Rao and he’s already listed on the CT website. The rest of the Council was silent, Stan was the only NO vote.
Kathleen Lorenz finally woke up to people dying in nursing homes. Instead of attacking the real problems of people who can not be safe while locked up with no family, she voted for the Liquor License ridiculousness. Comments at the end of meeting do nothing Kathleen.
Pam Reece announced Fitch has reaffirmed the Town AAA bond rating because of the Town reserves, fiscal responsibility, superior budget flexibility, strong financial policies, and economic development.
English translation: The payments can be made and it doesn’t matter if only interest is paid on some bonds. Also, the Town is more than willing to increase taxes to make sure the gravy train continues. (Conspiracy theory!)