By: Diane Benjamin
This snip is from the minutes of the September 8. 2020 minutes: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3759
Obviously Lorenz and McCarthy missed the graphic in Part 1 stating Normal’s priority is to run Water to Rivian. The minutes go on to state this $5,000,000 project would promote economic development, there is no mention of a “critical” need. Watch the video from this meeting. You can find it at this link: https://normal.org/779/Council-Videos The discussion was lengthy, but go to 42:20. Stan Nord asks what parcels running this water main will serve. Pam Reece states it is for growth on the west. There are no immediate needs, just hope. (That’s how Bloomington got a NEVER used fire station) Of course no one mentions they want to serve Rivian. The Council with the exception of Stan Nord believes what they are told. The $4,750,000 expenditure is in the plan, they haven’t looked for grants yet but they will.
One other note: Nord mentions if some company wants to build the Town would have time to run the water. Some parcels aren’t annexed into the City yet and building takes time. He voted no because there is no immediate need, at least not one that has been publicly stated with the exception of the graphic in Part 1.
I FOIA’d Rivian water charges from Bloomington, see what I received here:
The first thing I noticed is Rivian is behind in payments and last August Rivian owed more than $140,000. I emailed Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason because I thought maybe Rivian isn’t happy with the Bloomington service and therefore is delaying payments. Gleason checked with the Finance Director and gave me this response:
“No issues according to Scott Rathbun. Not uncommon for additional steps to reconcile this account.”
I responded with this:
“I’m trying to figure out why Normal wants to spend $5 million running water to them. “
This was his reponse:
- No one has said Rivian wants water from Normal instead of Bloomington
- Normal did state running water to Rivian is a priority and they classified it as critical
- Potential future economic development isn’t why tax dollars should be spent when existing systems are substandard
- The citizens of Normal should be asking why Normal is claiming economic development when their own documents say running water to Rivian is critical
- Citizens living where “fire flow” might not be sufficient to put out a fire should be outraged at the priorities of Normal’s leadership
- Truth matters, Normal rarely provides it.
- This will be campaign issue!