By: Diane Benjamin
One thing has been obvious for a long time: Kevin McCarthy gets activated by Chris Koos to call “Point of Order” when Stan Nord gets into topics the Town doesn’t want citizens to see discussed in public. It happens at almost every meeting, sometimes more than once.
The Council voted to finance the new fire truck instead of paying cash. Congrats citizens, you are now another $1,133,140 in debt.
This story proves: The Council (minus one) thinks Normal will keep $1,133,140 in savings earning interest instead of spending it on let’s say the underpass. This makes no sense if at some point in the next 10 years Normal can’t earn more keeping it savings or if that money is spent instead of saved. The bobbleheads failed to address either.
Details from the meeting:
The case made was the interest rate Commerce Bank is charging is less than the interest the Town would earn leaving it in savings. The first point not mentioned at the meeting is the Commerce Bank rate of 1.45% for 10 years should be a scary number. That means Commerce thinks interest rates will stay ridiculously low for another decade. Savings accounts will continue to earn close to zero while debt will rise because of low rates. This bubble can not continue indefinitely.
29:50 – Chris Koos to Stan Nord – if you think this is a bait and switch you should look at the whole Council who votes for it. (Koos is correct!)
Following Koos, Kevin McCarthy plays along, Andrew Huhn (finance director) states this brings value to taxpayers. McCarthy thinks staff is thinking outside the box and congratulates them.
Chemberly Cummings is up next. She is pro-financing (opposite of Bloomington who figured out a credit card costs more). See her around 34:15, she implies financing the truck is going to make it more valuable at the end of 10 years than it would be paying cash.
37:10 Karyn Smith. She makes it clear the Vehicle and Equipment Purchases Fund is just a rouse. The money in the fund isn’t restricted and can therefore be used at the whim of the council.
The must see video is of Kathleen Lorenz belittling Stan Nord which gives Stan a chance to call a Point of Order. Nord follows and gets an admission from the Mayor that Vehicle and Equipment Funds are held by the Council. That money can be spent on anything the Council says to spend it on. When Stan tries to make another point McCarthy calls a Point of Order, Koos calls Stan Out of Order several times and even slams his gavel to get Stan to stop talking:
McCarthy has one more point – the money in the Vehicle and Equipment Fund can be used for anything, not just the stated purpose of banking cash to avoid debt. For a change Koos cuts him off:
One more must see video. Later in the meeting (1:44:15) the Finance Director is recapping the budget , revenues, and expenses for last year. He declares the Vehicle and Equipment fund is actually a slush fund where money is transferred in and out for items other than paying cash for Vehicles and Equipment. Koos cuts him off! Later he also states in response to a question from Stan Nord stated Cash Reserves do not include this stash. That means citizens of Normal pay more taxes so Normal can hold on to some cash for whatever they desire.
How much is in this fund? See PDF page 45 https://normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/17189/Financial-Trend-and-Condition-Report-FY2019-20
The PLAN was to have over $9 million, we don’t know how much is actually in it.
Entire video of the almost 3 hour meeting: