United Way Tax Returns

By:  Diane Benjamin For the year ending June 30, 2017 United Way collected a $1,000,000 less than the previous year.  Total revenue was $2.1 million, so a million less is huge. 22% of the Revenue went to salaries and benefits.  The previous year only 18% went to employees. See page one of the tax return […]

600 jobs lost

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Local%20Area%20Unemployment%20Statistics%20LAUS/PressRelease/Local/Blm-Peoria_Apr.pdf Compared to April of 2017, April of 2018 saw 600 fewer jobs in Bloomington-Normal: Decatur gained 200 The State Farm bloodbath is just beginning, but here’s worse news: 200 more bureaucrats are employed? That’s bad news for your wallet and the future of Bloomington-Normal. 200 more people dreaming up how to […]

How much did TV commercials cost?

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember the 15 second commercial run on television for the Bloomington Public Library? I received the cost by FOIA: The FOIA response claims two television commercials were produced. I only received one in response to my FOIA request. NOTE:  All of the commercials that have run have not been billed. . . […]

What’s vacant downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin The building below used to be the piano and music store: It has been vacant for quite a while even though the rent is cheap for such a large space.    http://www.cityfeet.com/cont/listing/retail-space-for-lease/417-n-main-st-bloomington-il-61701/cs11356072 According to the County website, taxes on this building are $1,511.88 a year.   http://mcleanil.devnetwedge.com/view/RE/21-04-189-003/2017 The building is owned by ZCV3 LLC. The […]

Bloomington’s Monday Food, Travel, and more

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for 5/29/2018  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17800 See page 86-93.  All the NEGATIVE numbers mean they spent more than was budgeted for that area. It’s illegal to spend what isn’t budgeted without Council approval.  If I have time I may investigate further. Note:  Remember all Tari’s free lunches he claimed were for City business?  […]

Downtown Building for Sale!

By:  Diane Benjamin https://www.point2homes.com/US/Commercial-For-Sale/IL/Bloomington/Downtown-Bloomington/602604-N-Main/51134568.html The building is owned by downtown supporter Mike Manna. Is he fleeing? One caveat:  The taxes listed are on a much lower Assessed Value:   $93,787 http://mcleanil.devnetwedge.com/view/RE/21-04-178-016/2017 Multiply that by 3.33 and it is supposedly the value of the building. That would be $281,361. Is the asking price too high or the […]

Pension Funding

By:  Diane Benjamin “One of the best-funded pension plans in the country is the nearly 90 percent funded Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which has long had the ability to enforce payments into the plan.” IMRF funding isn’t a problem.  That’s why pension spiking penalties were enacted, the fund couldn’t afford to pay pensions for employees […]

PRIVATE sports complex proposed

By:  Diane Benjamin When the consultants report is presented for a new sports complex here, it will be a glowing report of tax dollars and visitors flocking here with their kids.  It won’t mention the PRIVATE Pony League Fields that were built with no tax dollars but are thriving anyway. I wonder if the consultants […]

Rivian Question

By:  Diane Benjamin Reports are that Rivian is up to around 40 employees. How Many Employees do nothing but move Volkswagens?   (Just to keep them running until the emissions problem gets resolved) . . . . . .  

Five Reasons Why Socialism is Not Christian

This story is almost 2 years old, but since we have socialists leaning candidates running in McLean County, it’s more than worth reading. Jesus confronted the money-changers and challenged believers to give to the needy. But, would he support socialism? Increasingly, Americans think he would. In fact, a recent Barna poll found that more Americans think Jesus […]

CIRBN: Another government waste?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN)  is part a project the State of Illinois applied for with the Federal government.  Illinois State University ended up with part of the grant which led to establishing CIRBN LLC.  Since CIRBN files non-profit tax returns, they should be incorporated as a non-profit on the […]

Downtown: Your thoughts?

When does the first person trip and sue? If the City doesn’t want to pay for stop lights, why aren’t they out-doing Normal with TWO roundabouts?   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout   Did a planter used to be in front of Rosie’s too? I heard one was there briefly!  Can anyone confirm? .  

ISU – All Gender Bathrooms

By:  Diane Benjamin In the interest of diversity and inclusion, more than 20 all gender bathrooms have been added to campus.  Are showers included? Source:   http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/climate-change-isu-working-to-fill-gaps-in-diversity-inclusion/article_85982c94-c66e-598e-9654-532026d71e95.html Just who are they trying to include? Do you want your daughter walking in a restroom with a bunch of guys?  Why do they need more than 20? Next […]

Darin Lahood: public embarrassment

By:  Diane Benjamin US representative Darin Lahood must know about the BILLIONS the federal government is throwing at public transportation.  The local bus services only loses $900,000 every month, but many cities lose more.  The federal government is wasting our tax dollars evidently for votes.  Seriously folks, people can’t be transported locally for less money […]

( $899,191.05 )

By:  Diane Benjamin It should come as no surprise by now the Title of this story is how much Connect Transit lost in just the month of April. Let that sink in for a minute. Source:   https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w_NfO02u72tKHxv6ZdTJY8wbMLepDP7J/view April had 30 days.  That means the empty buses were burning $29,973 in tax dollars EVERY DAY in […]

Missing Minutes is a pattern

By:  Diane Benjamin In the past month I had to file a FOIA request for the missing Sister Cities Committee minutes:    https://blnnews.com/2018/04/18/cut-sister-cities/ I also had to file for the minutes missing from the Police Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB):    https://blnnews.com/2018/05/17/pscrb-update-police-review-board/ The March and April Liquor Commission minutes are also missing: Tari needs to tell […]

Normal’s short meeting Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2969 Besides the usual subsidies to Connect Transit, and the Economic Development Council, and payments to the National League of Cities and International City/County Management Assoc, Rivian got their grounds taken care of by you: Other business: PDF page 77 and following: Coming to Uptown as requested by Stave (I’ve never heard […]

Where “Welcoming Ordinances” are leading

By:  Diane Benjamin We have a blueprint for the future.  Just look at Sanctuary State California. The Trust Act made Illinois a sanctuary state, Chicago declared itself a sanctuary city.  The “Welcoming Ordinance” Normal passed is just short of that, but the local open borders activists aren’t going to stop there.  Progressives never stop. Did […]

Update to: Public Servant

By:  Diane Benjamin See the original story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/05/16/true-public-servant-cough-cough/ A reader emailed this comment to the library along with a link to the story: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ . The writer received this response: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ Every City employee needs the same message.  Thanks Jeanne Hamilton. . . . . . .  

UPDATE: What about Dale?

I spoke to Dale’s mom.  Dale was registered at Normal West but he was killed in August 21st and never got to attend.  No one from West contacted her.  Many people are talking about ways to make sure he isn’t forgotten.  His mom suggested a memorial bench at Miller Park or at the Cornbelters field […]

PSCRB Update (Police Review Board)

By:  Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/05/09/setting-wedges/ The majority of the minutes are now listed on the website for the Police Safety and Community Relations Board.  They first met in December 2017, no minutes are available from that meeting.  If you want to see the January 2018 minutes, you have to read the February packet. […]

Thank you Tari – Library FOIA

By:  Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story from two days ago:  https://blnnews.com/2018/05/15/foia-fail-again-and-again/ I emailed both the City Clerk and Tari about the ridiculous .50 (fifty cents) charge and use of a disk since previous large FOIA requests have been delivered via Hightail.  Yesterday afternoon I received the request digitally.  Since the Clerk probably would have ignored […]

True Public Servant (cough cough)

By:  Diane Benjamin Being a government employee living off money stolen from hard-working taxpayers must not come with a course in what shouldn’t ever be said in public.  I’m sure some laugh with each other about the sweet benefits they get and the life long spiked pension they will collect that increases automatically every year.  […]

Is Renner delusional?

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was on WJBC this morning with Scott Laughlin.  Scott asked Tari about pension funding. Tari had to mention the pension funding award he accepted several years ago.  Pension funding was neglected for many years so Bloomington could do fun stuff like the BCPA and the Coliseum.  When Tari was elected […]

The cost of “Full Service” in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The numbers below are from the Illinois Comptroller’s website:    http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ Normal’s budget has increased 33% in 6 years.  5.5% per year is much higher than the inflation rate.  Last year Normal spent almost $36 million more than it did in 2012. Where is it?  Roads? Population is estimated at 54,264.  That spending […]

FOIA fail – again and again

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader told me at the end of April the Bloomington Public Library was running ads on a Peoria TV station.  On April 30th I filed a FOIA request for the ad and what they are spending on advertising. Keep in mind the City of Bloomington spends a fortune on IT and […]

Accident Investigation

By:  Diane Benjamin The only reason I FOIAd’s the State Police report for the accident involving the Normal West student who died earlier this year was because of a tip from a reader. If you didn’t know, the driver of the vehicle who hit her was the son of Bloomington’s Fire Chief, Brian Mohr.  Mitchel […]

Epidemic of at risk kids

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington Council meeting last night did not produce much to report.  We did learn from a lady during public comment that Bloomington has an epidemic of at risk kids.  Holly (didn’t catch the last name) volunteers many hours at the Boys and Girls Club.  They currently serve almost 1000 kids and […]

No money in it: Recycling

By:  Diane Benjamin If money could be made from recycling, Normal wouldn’t have stopping funding drop off locations.. Midwest Fiber wouldn’t let the drop off boxes get stuffed to capacity creating a mess when people just leave the junk outside the bins. I have been dropping of recycling for years behind Walmart in Normal.  These […]

Bloomington: Tonight’s Council

By:  Diane Benjamin Only you can stop the welcoming ordinance! . Show up or it will pass in the future! . . . . . _____________________________________ .http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17702 The Council is meeting at 5:00 only for an Executive Session (Secret Meeting): I’m betting the collective bargaining contract won’t ban pension spiking. The City needs to lead […]

Update: Mother’s Day Bail

She wasn’t allowed to be released without bail because she had an arrest in Springfield for retail theft that will go to trial in June.  It wasn’t because she was black.  See that arrest information here:   http://records.sangamoncountycircuitclerk.org/sccc/DisplayDocket.sc By:  Diane Benjamin Black Lives Matter Blono has been raising money to bail a mother out of jail […]

College Free Speech Lawsuit

By:  Diane Benjamin I just found a story proving people are tired of University tactics to silence free speech.  A lawsuit was filed against the University of Michigan Tuesday: The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit civil rights group Speech First, alleges that the university’s apparatus to investigate incidents reported as bias and enforce disciplinary measures creates […]

ISU: Teaching Tribalism

By:  Diane Benjamin Why is it impossible to talk to each other these days?  Many times it’s because people retreat to their corner and refuse to listen to any points of view that conflict with what they were taught or what they think they believe.  Common sense and rational thoughts must be attacked if doesn’t […]

Downs: TIF Tensions

By:  Diane Benjamin This is yet another case of TIF abuse.  I don’t know if the Village of Downs is at fault or the engineers they hired – Farnsworth.  Maybe Mayor James can explain.  (Side note:  Liberal California has banned TIFs) The owner of the property pictured is Roger Reynolds.  It is located east of […]

Bloomington-Overtime, Pension Spiking, etc

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll Monday night:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17676 Bi-Weekly Overtime!  (hours/payment – PDF page 6) Weekly employees Overtime: Two entries for Sick Leave Buy Back. Pension Spiking: More expenses for the Coliseum? They haven’t gotten to the elevator yet. Consultants – Administration How many downtown properties aren’t paying taxes because Bloomington bought them?  Maybe […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin YMCA, State Farm, and now Specs Around Town are just some businesses who have or will be leaving downtown Bloomington. City of Bloomington:  Whatever you are doing is causing flight from downtown. Downtown is for bars, restaurants, lawyers, and government.  Until Bloomington quits trying to make downtown something it isn’t, the few businesses […]

UPDATE: Setting Wedges

See bottom of story for update. By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when City hall was packed with people wanting citizens to oversee the Police?  Remember this new Board supposedly only had the power to review cases after all other remedy within the Police Department was exhausted? The Public Safety Community Review Board was the first wedge […]

Will Bloomington pass a Welcoming Ordinance?

By:  Diane Benjamin Social media is full of outrage over Normal passing the “Welcoming Ordinance”.  The Pantagraph turned off comments to their story. Is Bloomington next? Will LEGAL immigrant Alderman Mboka Mwilambwe cave?  Will Alderman Karen Schmidt approve an ordinance like Normal’s that does nothing other than empower the radicals? We know the supporters will […]

The Garbage Spring

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington posted a link yesterday so citizens can track the progress of The Great Garbage Spring:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/Components/News/News/6899/ I’ve heard potholes aren’t being filled, 2 additional trucks have been rented, and it might take a month to remove all the curb junk.  Scrappers and curb shoppers are removing some and […]

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