Water Department and Pension Spiking Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin These projects will be approved Monday:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18366 Lake Bloomington Water Treatment plant roof:   $323,139.65 Water Main replacement:  $385,075 Professional Services to prepare for another water main replacement:  $30,876.50 If the Council claims the Water Department funds are diminishing and therefore they have to raise rates: In 2013 $400,000 was “borrowed” from the water fund for […]

Why was Renner’s cost more than Koos?

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for 7/23/2018  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18360 PCard charge for Tari Renner –  Hotel only, US Conference of Mayors in Boston: Since Tari doesn’t have a PCard, it must have been booked with this card. 3 nights for Chris Koos including two charges at the hotel’s Champion Sports Bar was only $1209.99.    https://blnnews.com/2018/07/13/normal-we-must-entertain-and-more/ […]

Sports Complex MUST be Dead on Arrival

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night I actually asked the people around me if they heard the same things I did.  It was close to the end when Evan Eleff of Sports Facilities Advisory stated the complex will never pay for itself.  I asked him about it after the meeting ended.  He told me this is Parks […]

$ 43,585,074!

By:  Diane Benjamin That is the cost of building the proposed multi-sport complex. The best part is: It will NEVER pay for itself! If anybody supports this proposal they need mental health exams. More tomorrow!

Normal’s pork tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight – two meetings:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3017 Don’t forget this one-the consult will present their findings on building a sports complex here: Misc money toss: Did you get your invite? This is only for printing: Normal allows pension spiking too: Unlike Bloomington where everything is a secret forever, Normal will be voting to release Executive […]

Guest Writer: Citizens Public Safety and Community Relations Board

By:  Karen Miller On July 12, WGLT posted an article entitled “Year later, Some Want More Distance between Civilian Board and Police”.     http://wglt.org/post/year-later-some-want-more-distance-between-civilian-board-and-police The Pubic Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB) was formed to serve as a citizen advisory committee to the Chief of Police and the City Manager, providing different perspectives on police […]

Pantagraph wrong again, but nothing new

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph thanked Alderman Diana Hauman for serving and for publicly stating she is not running for reelection to the Bloomington City Council because she was not able to develop a cohesive Council. When Judy Stearns and Kevin Lower were members, the Council was very cohesive.  Everything they said was ignored. The […]

What does “No Bids” tell you? (and more Council tonight)

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington City Council meeting tonight: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18264 Beginning on PDF page 380 Remember the Wayfinding signs? In August 2016 the Council hired a firm to design the signs for $62,190.  In December 2017 the Council approved spending another $28,095 for design after the original designs were nixed. They could have held a local contest […]

Bloomington’s spending priorities Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin If the new City Manager is able to sell his house in Decatur, maybe he can take David Hales’s house off his hands.  It is still for sale, reduced AGAIN to $245,000.  It started at $279,900 last November.    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5-Conway-Cir-Bloomington-IL-61704/76972678_zpid/?fullpage=true Tari’s favorite non-profit, Illinois Policy Institute, wrote about Bloomington’s new City Manager, it’s […]

The next State’s Attorney

By:  Diane Benjamin This note is on the McLean County State’s Attorney website:    http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/index.aspx?NID=96 Sources tell me the State’s Attorney job is mostly administrative, I don’t buy it.  If the State’s Attorney has never tried a case or prosecuted anyone, how can they know the people they are supervising are competent?  I bet prosecuting the […]

Is Tari lying?

By:  Diane Benjamin Before the vote to neuter Tari’s agenda privileges, he gave a little speech.  He claimed an Alderwoman came to him 30 days after he was first elected with a list of over 100 items she wanted him to put on the agenda.  He claims that person has NEVER voted for a City budget.  […]

$225,000 unaccountable

By:  Diane Benjamin At tonight’s City Council meeting BN Advantage will get $125,000.  That is in addition to the $100,000 currently paid to the Economic Development Council which happens to be part of BN Advantage. Confused? It’s not going to get any clearer since both organizations can not be FOIA’d. PDF page 277  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18156 This is […]

Heartland is deficit spending for BAD reasons

By:  Diane Benjamin According to this article (buried on their website), Heartland Community College is planning on not having a balanced budget until 2021.   https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/heartland-board-approves-first-budget-with-deficit/article_a0c39e6e-4dca-5637-b1ba-749dc4cd88b1.html Do you deficit spend for 2 years or more?  Government does. The planned deficit is because they lost the authority to levy “equity property taxes” amounting to $3 million.  Of […]

Guest Editorial: Deep Disappointment

Bloomington City Council Members: At this point, I have to trust that during the search and decision process for a new City Manager, you all garnered significantly more knowledge and capability, than any single citizen has, linked to selecting the best candidate for City Manager. At this point your constituents can only hope that the future provides […]

Arena – Will Gleason shut it down?

By:  Diane Benjamin The local paper has an editorial declaring the new City Manager the right guy because Decatur re-did their downtown.  They think Normal did, so there is no reason Bloomington can’t. They forgot Normal was in ZERO debt before they spent around $100,000,000 on Uptown.  (Is that restaurant space on the Circle still […]

An article Bloomington leaders won’t read

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight Bloomington is holding a special meeting to talk about TIF’s.  Again, they believe they can create prosperity with the “Right Fit”. Here’s the article they need to read:   https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/6/18/running-government-as-a-business Excerpts: If you’ve been here with Strong Towns for any amount of time, you know the suggestion that, “the object of a […]

Supporting Downtown Neighborhoods +

By:  Diane Benjamin With the change to twice yearly bulk waste pickup, areas around downtown now look like this: The owner could call the City for pickup and pay $25 per bucket, or they can wait to be tagged by the City.  The tagged mess still won’t be picked up immediately because the City is […]

Illinois’ neighbors scrapped Prevailing Wage

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I wrote about Bloomington approving a prevailing wage ordinance:     https://blnnews.com/2018/06/12/without-the-king-not-much-business-to-do/ Since Illinois is run by unions, the demise of Illinois will continue.  Government isn’t for the citizens, it’s for buying votes and getting campaign contributions in exchange. The Illinois Policy Institute reported a few days ago that Michigan is the […]

Continuing “Right Fit” While Ignoring Needs

By:  Diane Benjamin Local governments in both Bloomington and Normal forgot a long time ago it isn’t their job to entertain you.  Raising taxes to pay for their folly costs everybody.  Want to know why Bloomington-Normal is becoming un-affordable?  Government tyranny!  They know better than you how to spend your money.  Worse, capitalism is murdered […]

More spiking and other bills

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for 6/11/2018   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18004 More Pension Spiking! 1200 hours of paid time @ $44.85 per hour.  The second one doesn’t list the hours. More vote-buying with your money.  They call it Community Relations to sound nice. Is Code Enforcement being outsourced now?  Anybody want to FOIA? Huge Petty Cash at the BCPA has […]

Threw a party, few came

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday a Meet and Greet was held for the three remaining Bloomington City Manager candidates.  The paper failed to report a crowd was expected but didn’t show up.  The below is from reports by two people who did attend.  Citizens can vote for their choice at a link below. People who did […]

Update: Party at Public Works

I just received another response from the City they neglected to include in the previous FOIA response: Nice of them to totally change the story two days later!  Why aren’t vending machine profits City money?  More FOIA’s —————————————————————————————————- By:  Diane Benjamin I heard a rumor that morale at Bloomington’s Public Works was so low, Jim […]

Arena losses – fiction

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve been writing about the Coliseum (Grossinger Motors Arena) for YEARS.  This “White Elephant” has been a constant drain on taxpayers since it was conceived.  The losses are huge, theft is being prosecuted, the City failed to oversee operations, economic impact numbers are made up, and new management is doing little to […]

Like Debt?

By:  Diane Benjamin See this story from December 2, 2017   https://blnnews.com/2017/12/02/normal-tossing-money-yours/ Bond payments look like they are made twice a year. On the agenda for Monday night:  Interest payments of $1,541,388.73     http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2973 In December the interest payments totaled $1,628,761.92 That’s a decrease of $87,373.19 Total debt is decreasing slowly – it was $92,320,992 at […]

Government waste in pics

By:  Diane Benjamin When taxpayer abuse is this blatant, it’s easy to see.  Most abuse is much harder to find. This picture is from Google maps.  Note the sidewalk is perfectly flat – this is along Front Street in front of Rosie’s. Now see this picture – again look at the sidewalk. TWO concrete planter […]

Last night Council meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin The majority of the meeting was spent talking about TIF districts.  The City of Bloomington currently has two:  Empire Corridor which is a massive area along Empire street, and Downtown Southwest.  The City is trying to get approval from the other taxing bodies for two more:  The old Junior High building area […]

Peterson Gift Card

By:  Diane Benjamin Earlier this month I reported Connect Transit gave Normal’s former City Manager a gift card to mark his retirement:   https://blnnews.com/2018/05/21/899191-05/ While Connect Transit lost $899,191.05 in just one month, Mark Peterson got $50.00 or it: This receipt was received by FOIA.    

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?  […]

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 […]

( $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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Normal’s Pension Problem (and Bloomington)

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal has to pay into three pension funds:  IMRF, Police, and Fire. The funding for IMRF isn’t horrible, Police and Fire are.  What does that say about who the Town management and Council respect and who they don’t? I’m sure you remember property taxes being raised year after year […]

Townships-the hidden government

By:  Diane Benjamin You may have received your property tax bill today, I did. If you live in either Bloomington Township or Normal Township you will see a separate line on the bill for them. I found it amusing that Normal Township has this on their website: Township government is the most basic unit of […]

Tax Tax Tax

By:  Diane Benjamin The horrific State policies that led to people fleeing Illinois are now local.  Government must have more and more of your money because they have more and more things they MUST do. Actually, those things don’t need to be done, but progressive Democrats need to control your life because they are so […]

Local Motor Fuel Tax Facts

By:  Diane Benjamin The current .04 a gallon Motor Fuel Tax was passed on April 21, 2014.    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6667 The documentation for this meeting claimed it would generate around $1 Million for transportation infrastructure:   (PDF page 25) http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6644 ____________________________ The very next year $2,400,000 was budgeted as expected receipts: PDF page 38 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=9706 Was the Council […]

All you need to know about last night:

By:  Diane Benjamin The meetings last night lasted until a little after 10:00 pm,  The first one started at 5:30 pm. Public Comment had a lady BEGGING the Council not to use asphalt on Jefferson street downtown.  She wants something fancy!  Maybe she can fork over the money to pay for it too.  See her […]

More from Bills and Payroll

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17440 How did Alderman Hauman travel to One Voice in Washington DC for half the cost of Renner?   https://blnnews.com/2018/04/03/remember-the-one-voice-air-fare/ Is your full service City planning to throw parties?  Note it’s an Admin expense. The Springfield Lawyers are running out of budgeted funds, only $33,175 is left for April.  (see […]

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