Is Normal Practicing Corporate Welfare?

By: Diane Benjamin

Stan Nord was absent from the meeting last night so business only took about 15 minutes.

One item that was passed with little discussion of actual facts was this:

Staff has said they have no requests for extending the current sewer lines, so how does Crawford etc. know what to design? How big do the pipes have to be? Who is it going to serve?

Staff is either wasting money for design plans when they have no idea what they are designing, or they have information they aren’t making public.

See PDF page 67 of the documentation: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4016

Below is a screen shot of the existing lines (light green) and the proposed new sewer line (dark green and purple):

Why is the Town connecting to a line east of the Rivian plant and run it all the way to Rivian Motorway when an existing line is much closer – see the circled area?

Nobody asked.

Remember Tap-On fees to recoup the cost so taxpayers aren’t funding work that benefits only a few? https://blnnews.com/2021/03/11/picture-this/

The warehouse area in north Normal that Rivian is renting was never included in the Town’s sewer tap-on fee map. Taxpayers paid the cost. History is repeating itself with this sewer project. It is also not on the map.

Prediction: Rivian will not pay to hook into this new sewer line when it is run to the property west of Rivian Motorway.

(Remember Stan Nord was forced to pay big bucks when the Town “forgot” to charge a previous owner of the property – actual 4 owners back from when he bought the property)

Town code: PDF page 78 https://normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/7701/Chapter-07—Water-and-Sewer?bidId=

The Town authorized a study with no request for service. The area is not mapped to recoup the cost. Does “shall pay” mean taxpayers get the bill because the map isn’t updated?

Staff did say this $60,000 is the fore-runner to actual construction. Where is that money coming from? Will the council be told “we paid for the study therefore we have to build it”? It isn’t in the budget.

Meanwhile, in a few months Rivan is issuing an IPO to raise up to $90 billion. Taxpayers will be funding new entrances for them off West College. The finally fixed West College will be complete with separated bike paths leading to the plant. Water lines are being run on top of Bloomington’s. Remember when taxpayers funded security, snow removal, and outside maintenance in the original agreement?

Rivian is a great asset to the community, corporate welfare so Town leaders can be their buddies at taxpayer expense risks public opinion. Sentiment will change if tax and fee increases are assessed against everybody else to fund welfare.

If the Town of Normal is pro corporate welfare because Rivian is such a great asset – they need to publicly state that! Right now they think you won’t notice.

Watching the meeting won’t take long!

13 thoughts on “Is Normal Practicing Corporate Welfare?

  1. Koos, Reece, and Company are now forced to do the bidding of Rivian, which has the Town by the shorthairs. Wonder if they’ll ever say “no”. And when they do, what actions would Rivian take if it doesn’t get its way. Also, to Diane’s point, let’s all keep score as to the amount of taxpayer money invested in Rivian. The taxpayer money spent didn’t stop after the original deal, nor with this apparent arrangement. The Town has and will continue to use taxpayer money to fund this relationship. We must keep a running tally of these expenses and the actual economic benefit to the community (not some voodoo calculation used by the Route 66 and Downtown Bloomington cheerleaders.).

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  2. Pathetic Koos, Reece and all the corrupt board members other than Nord should be replaced! Nord is the only council person trying to protect the citizens!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Normal again picks the winners at the expense of the local small business owners and residents. Portillios, Ross, Vitesse, and now the multiple under the table give aways to Rivian.
    Reece and Scaringe are both members at Blm Country Club. I expect that is where the “real” agreements using our tax dollars are made.
    The 15 min meeting without Stan made it clear the council puppets are in solidarity with Pam and Koos.

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  4. Rivian is Koos’ ticket for a bronze statue in the middle of the roundabout (or so he has hoped). Again, Rivian saw some fools in the middle of a cornfield and pushed all their chips into the middle of the table without fear. The shelf-life of the operation will be half that of Mitsubishi and the Town again will be left holding the bag. But it really doesn’t matter to those in charge. Personal egos have always trumped a long lasting diversified economy with jobs in many sectors. Eventually, the electric car industry will have so many products and competitors you won’t be able to distinguish one from the other. Add on the eventual development of hydrogen power entering the vehicle market and electric will no longer have the advantage of government-subsidized assistance in the marketplace. Also, the danger of electric vehicles is becoming more evident as incidents increase of lithium fires that first responders fear, to say nothing of the expense of the raw product needed to be mined to build the fire traps and the disposal problems of the batteries that have been given little consideration. None of this matters to the local Clique who knows more than anyone. And yes, economic development decisions have been made “at the Club” for years and will be for the future.

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  5. Forgive my ignorance, but has Rivian even sold ONE car except to companies or cities on some sort of fleet deals? I still say they are 100% sham-scam and it’s all “back-door deals” with perks for Cringe Scaringe and his immediate circle. The entire operation just oozes swamp water and corruption. It’s easy to “promise” 100,000 vehicles especially when the people you promise them too will just say oh well because they are as dirty as you are if it never actually happens because of some convoluted “hiccup” or another. How long can they play the delay delay delay game yet keep raking in millions and have some empty headed empty suits in Normal paying for everything for them or “subsidizing” them?

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      1. What a surprise… Scouting for the next mark? Going to all the right parties and wearing the right clothes with his little laptop full of ideas and deals?

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    1. If you dig deep into the company’s history before it was named Rivian promises were made by Clark Kent in Florida, California and Michigan where he promised to build the plant. Granted, he has offices in Cali and Michigan but never delivered on the other “promises”. I heard the guy speak at a Normal Council meeting and he oozes insincerity. Probably a good engineer but he knows nothing about auto manufacturing. Why he has raided Tesla, McClaren and the Big Three to buy the knowledge and basically steal their technology. His product and company is based on a “fad” that will be overtaken and improved on by people that really know what they are doing. He’s in it to get rich quick on the battery technology, sell it ( likely to Jeff Bezos) and retire then make his money on the auto talk circuit as a ” electric vehicle pioneer”. The guy reminds you of some spoiled East or West Coast rich kid that really never had to work too hard to get what he wants. Sad thing is the people who are signing on to the place for a lengthy career that won’t wind up having one.

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  6. The thing that irritates me the most is the Town Manager is misleading the council and public that the process and funding for this extension is standard practice. Staff have told the council that Rivian did not asked for this $1M sewer extension nor incentive, yet she is giving it to them anyway. She has decided to give more incentives than what is requested. She is playing politics, which is not the role of the town manager. Why she is determined to give away “under the table” incentives in such a deceitful manner is unknown. Had she been truthful then I may have supported a request to give the additional incentive.

    Stan Nord

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