By: Diane Benjamin
I’m just going to pick a couple items to write about.
Item one is a check written to CIRBN for $256,985.34. Listen to Pam Reece describe this payment at 14:15. It sure sounds to me like the Town of Normal is refunding the contributions made by CIRBN for their 3 employees who were pretend Town employees for the benefits.
A couple of problems here. At the January 15th meeting the Council authorized return of funds. The documentation sure sounds like the funds, estimated then at $215,000, were CIRBN contributions, not what employees contributed. See this story: https://blnnews.com/2021/01/15/can-you-tell-elections-are-coming/
Stan Nord wanted these funds audited to make sure taxpayers were not paying more than they owed. He also wanted an ordinance banning the Town from creating these cozy relationships in the future. Of course he had no support.
One more problem, see this email from a conversation I had with IMRF in January:
It states employees who leave an IMRF job can get their contributions refunded if they aren’t vested. Employers can’t because they are not assigned to individual employees.
What that means is the Town of Normal (professional staff) decided CIRBN deserved to have their contributions refunded. They used your money to do it. CIRBN was not recognized by IMRF because their 3 employees were reported as TOWN employees. If those 3 had been real employees Normal would not have received a refund when they left. The only benefit to taxpayers is the CIRBN money is still in the IMRF fund for use by other retiring employees in the future. It isn’t much of a benefit since IMRF was always well funded anyway, unlike the police and fire pensions.
Also note, the “professional staff” estimate in January was off by almost $42,000. Citizens don’t need an audit however, the bobbleheads declared it last night.
The other item to note is the Trail extension which of course got approved, without Stan. After the $150,000 State grant this bike trail will cost taxpayers $321,358. Of course future maintenance will add to that number while the road maintenance obviously isn’t a priority. The Town is resurfacing only 1.75 center lane miles this year.
Stan Nord wanted to know where the funding was coming from. The discussion finally revealed that Local Motor Fuel Tax is put in the General Fund, therefore that gas tax you pay in Normal isn’t earmarked for transportation and fixing the roads. (In Bloomington it is) That .08 cents per gallon tax is just another revenue source for the Town. See 1:07:50
This trail is being paid out of the general fund. Bikers don’t pay into the general fund with gas taxes, so those who do are subsidizing them. Of course Bike Shop Koos didn’t recuse himself from the vote.
Final note: Kevin McCarthy spent a lot of time during the meeting defending the “professional staff”. It’s becoming a comedy show.