EDC didn’t do their due diligence before posting

By: Diane Benjamin Everybody occasionally gets sucked in by things they see on the internet. Everybody should do more research before they post anything. (including me!) Two days ago the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council posted this on Facebook: . Ever heard of Pheabs? It didn’t take much research to find out who they are, the […]

The EDC’s shocking Cost of Living calculator:

By: Diane Benjamin The BN Economic Development Council should be using their own tools to improve Bloomington-Normal instead of supporting taxpayer subsidized housing in Normal. A calculator to compare the Cost of Living is right on their website: https://www.bnbiz.org/coli Did you know the Cost of Living is higher in Bloomington-Normal than other cities? Both Bloomington […]

What is up with the EDC?

By:  Diane Benjamin EDC is the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.  They get your tax money but are not subject to FOIA.  Bloomington cut their subsidy because of accountability. The President/CEO, Patrick Hoban, spoke at the joint the meeting of Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County held September 30, 2019. On this video at 5:40 Patrick […]

EDC has a new director

By:  Diane Benjamin How many former Decatur people are going to recruited?  Tim Gleason, Billy Tyus, and now the new director of the Economic Development Council: https://www.bnbiz.org/news/patrick-hoban-chosen-as-new-president-ceo/?fbclid=IwAR1bT5mkeg0vyoW2wiZo07OX0jOUAa65_sTAZcVCPo7UxpPIXiTv1aTt4YM Patrick Hoban gets the job.  At least he didn’t come directly from Decatur: Hoban has served as the economic development manager for the Village of Tinley Park since […]

County should Defund the EDC

By:  Diane Benjamin What does the Economic Development Council do? Here’s their website:  https://www.bnbiz.org/ They have dinners and lunches, organize the One Voice trips to DC to beg for federal funds, and soak up a lot of money from both Bloomington and Normal. Last year McLean County budgeted $100,000 for the EDC.  For 2018 they dropped […]

Has work started on West College and the Underpass?

By: Diane Benjamin West College was despicable when the Normal Town Council approved a plan to fix it clear back in 2020: https://blnnews.com/2020/06/23/normal-on-fixing-west-college/ According to the Community Investment Plan the Town first had to extend sewer lines to the West side of Rivian Motorway.  That work should have been completed in FY 2023 which ended […]

School District Facts – maybe move to Indiana

By: Diane Benjamin Tax-Rates.org summarizes property taxes by state. Indiana property tax rates as a percentage of home value is less than half what Illinois is. Of course everyone knows schools drive Illinois property taxes. Indiana School Districts: The largest public school district in Indiana, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is an agile, innovative educational organization […]

Fly on the Wall: Housing Emergency that isn’t?

If this area needs more housing as some claim: Why did I overhear a local “planner” tell a developer the time isn’t right for another subdivision? “Planner” thinks it could affect Unit 5’s referendum (round 2) and the April election! Wonder if “planner” knows lies will effect it more? EDC? Chamber of Commerce?

Got an Electric Bike?

If you have one: https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-fires-new-york-city-1664872245158db9adf85edc7f9ddcc8 Excerpts: City officials are considering new laws after the fire department counted nearly 200 blazes and six fire deaths this year tied to problems with lithium-ion batteries in such “micromobility” devices. WHY ARE E-BIKES AND SCOOTERS GETTING SCRUTINY IN NEW YORK? The city has seen “an exponential increase” in fires […]

Facts Matter, just not to everybody

By: Diane Benjamin EDC director Patrick Hoban showed up at the Bloomington City Council meeting to push for the $750,000 downtown study. He claimed downtown is the heart of the City (heard that before?) and he has studies that claim the Return on Investment is between 100 and 500%. He also claimed we don’t need […]

Property Rights Immaterial in Normal

By: Diane Benjamin I attended Normal’s Planning Commission meeting last night. I only stayed for 3 hours, it was still going on when I left. Here’s the takeaway: When government claims it can’t protect your property rights because laws and regulations don’t allow it, your government needs replaced with one who understands the Constitution. See […]

Two things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) BN Advantage is back after mostly disappearing for years and a lot of tax dollars. https://www.bnadvantage.com/ The website is much better than years ago, contact information takes you to the EDC. Just Bloomington threw BN Advantage $423,867.  https://blnnews.com/2019/04/29/bn-advantage-magazine/ Search BlnNews for more stories on BN Advantage. You might want to explore […]

Normal’s Conga line of miss-truths

By: Diane Benjamin Every time Normal wants something big they recruit local elites for Public Comment to praise the project. Last Monday was no exception. Former mayor Paul Harmon spoke both at the beginning of the meeting and the end. Patrick Hoban, the President and CEO of the local Economic Development Council was first up. […]

Like Unit 5 salaries, here’s District 87

By: Diane Benjamin Unit 5 story: https://blnnews.com/2022/04/01/unit-5-did-esser-funds-inflate-salaries/ The numbers on the graph again come from Open The Books and from the ISBE School Report Card website: https://www.illinoisreportcard.com/District.aspx?source=studentcharacteristics&source2=enrollment&Districtid=17064087025 Enrollment decreased in 2020 and 2021. Employees increased a lot in 2021, but the average salary crashed. District 87 also needs to report where ESSER Funds were spent. […]

Unit 5 – Did ESSER Funds Inflate Salaries?

By: Diane Benjamin The chart below came from Open The Books. The number of employees and total payroll reported to Teachers Retirement Fund also came from Open The Books. The number of students each year came from this story – note enrollment DECREASED: https://blnnews.com/2022/03/04/unit-5-enrollment-is-decreasing/ Average salary is just Math. Even with enrollment down, salaries saw […]

How politics works – Part 2

By: Diane Benjamin See Part 1 here: https://blnnews.com/2021/04/21/how-politics-works/ h/t a reader Excerpt from April 19, 2021 Normal meeting packet: https://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3953 From the list of Chris Koos campaign contributions: https://elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/ItemizedContributions.aspx?FiledDocID=YIs54h%2fevxf7J8yKlr0dbQ%3d%3d&ContributionType=2YAmdxRebQQqctsvHCZ198%2f3abzMbtvHeOGYYfK0I884AkEx74lNcz3lvc4Cs7JKibdJ1GoqCdw%3d&T=637545917602780968 If his address didn’t tip you off: Figure out who he works for? https://www.cardinalinfrastructure.com/our-team His real name is  Bennette Ressinke, the spelling seems to change depending […]

Normal Tonight

By: Diane Benjamin https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3953 The entire agenda is Omnibus which means the meeting would have been 10 minutes before Stan Nord was elected. Lately the Council has stretched meetings much longer. Bill payments can’t be discussed even though things are on the list that should be. Another almost $36000 is being paid to rent the […]

Renner will be gone, Koos MUST follow

By: Diane Benjamin Anybody remember BN Advantage? It was a huge collaboration of the unelected who got your money to operate. This story explains who: https://blnnews.com/2015/10/29/round-2-bn-advantage/ It would take a lot of research to figure out how much of your money was thrown to this group. This story shows $423,867 just from Bloomington: https://blnnews.com/2019/04/29/bn-advantage-magazine/ Where […]

Normal: 7:00 meeting Part 2

By: Diane Benjamin Much of the meeting was spent talking about the 3/31/2020 financial statements and the financial trends report. Neither are on-line yet, so they aren’t worth discussing much here. Many accolades were thrown at staff for doing a good job preparing for the audit. I agree, but isn’t that what they get paid […]

Normal’s painful meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin Chris Koos was sick so Kevin McCarthy acted as Mayor.  No one adds less intensity to doing the people’s business than McCarthy.  Try to stay awake if you watch. New people showed up at Public Comment. A local businessman wanted to know why he wasn’t allowed to participate in the Town picking […]

Illinois needs to tax retirement income

By:  Diane Benjamin Those aren’t my words – Democrat Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs stated that.  Of course he claims only the “high income” earners will be the victims. Since Democrats don’t believe in learning from history, somebody should tell them that people don’t hang around a state to get their money stolen by taxation.  Every […]

The entitled show up to shame 

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment last night was loaded with those who think they are entitled to tax dollars.  Yes people have lost jobs and yes paying bills is next to impossible, but that doesn’t make them entitled to anything.  The good socialists showed up en masse to criticize the FIVE Council members who voted […]

Normal “No Bills” Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin Unlike Bloomington, that now has a financial report to the Council every month, Normal issues a report once a year in September.  They call it a Financial Trends Report.  Do citizens have to wait until September to find out just how bad Revenue is now? The turndown isn’t stopping them from spending […]

Bloomington: 2/24/2020

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23995 Agenda:  https://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1059&Inline=True Congrats taxpayers!  No employees are receiving Sick Leave Buy Back payments this time to spike their pensions.  Don’t get excited though, you will be paying again: See PDF page 89 of the agenda. Denise Balagna will be receiving an extra $205.78 per month Joyce McKeon will […]

Normal: Koos steps in it again

By:  Diane Benjamin The only Public Comment last night was from Doug Fansler.  See 6:20.  He wondered who invited the climate activist to speak at the last meeting.  He had emailed the Council and City Manager but was not satisfied with the scant answers.  Doug agreed we need a warming and a cooling plan but […]

Peoria has Private Investors

By:  Diane Benjamin In Bloomington and Normal government believes they are required to spend your money to create economic development.  Peoria evidently doesn’t.  Maybe it’s because Peoria is too broke – they have made significant budget cuts.  Maybe broke government  is the key to allowing the private sector to flourish.   See this story:  https://www.pjstar.com/news/20191210/kim-blickenstaff-purchases-stake-in-peoria-armory-plans-renovation  Excerpts: […]

Tiritillli Public Comment found + another sports complex

By:  Diane Benjamin As reported in this story, the Public Comment by Marc Tiritilli was cut from the posted video at the 9/30/2019 joint meeting of the McLean County Board, Town of Normal, and Bloomington City Council:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/07/comment-cut-from-video-tiritilli/ I filed a FOIA Request with Bloomington since they had posted the rest of the video.  It […]

Update: Emails to see before tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin I don’t see video on either Normal or Bloomington’s website this morning.  A sports complex wasn’t mentioned, the meeting was more of a “what we do” presentation by the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The most noteworthy thing I heard was the EDC calling […]