Flashback: May 11, 2016 Renner

By:  Diane Benjamin WJBC has reported Tari Renner wants to end the moratorium on new video gaming  machines: http://www.wjbc.com/2019/07/29/renner-sides-with-businesses-seeking-to-end-bloomingtons-video-gaming-freeze/ I remember when the moratorium was put in place, Tari was outraged that $50 million a year went into the machines.  It sounds like he changed his mind. Back in 2016 Tari was on WJBC talking […]

Tari’s Ward 4 candidate and more

By: Diane Benjamin Clearly Emig is Tari’s pick for Ward 4, he’s holding an open house at his house for her.  If you aren’t a left winger and want to attend, just show up.  Responding on Facebook will get you blocked. Remember about a year ago when various Council people held “priority based budgeting” townhalls? […]

Bloomington: Monday’s tax and more

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll The arena continues to fleece taxpayers: I wonder how many payments there will be? Legal Fees For October (the boot of government?): History Museum and Visitors Center: Following Normal’s lead, Bloomington will be taxing short-term rentals!  All residents who rent their property will be required to register.  If the website […]

Privilege Tax

By:  Diane Benjamin It is very easy to describe government in Normal: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Ronald Reagan Hotel occupancy in Bloomington-Normal is way down, according to […]

Bloomington Downtown Zoning Delusional

By:  Diane Benjamin The proposed Zoning changes cover a lot of ground, but let’s start with downtown.  Obviously everything the City does revolves around putting lipstick on this pig.  This map is included in the documentation:      http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=19954 The Purple proposed to be D2. The Green proposed to be D1 Light Blue proposed to be […]

Gleason’s Decatur legacy – Must Read

By:  Diane Benjamin It looks like the Decatur newspaper actually investigates government, unlike the Pantagraph.  Both are owned by Lee Enterprises.  (Stock price $2.75 a share) It’s a long read, but it NEVER mentions Decatur’s former City Manager (and now Bloomington’s) Tim Gleason.  Everything is blamed on the City Council. City Managers are hired to […]

Scotty’s inititives

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night Alderman Scott Black presented his want list: Most of them took up way too much Council time, a total of 8 minutes for each was extended for most of them. Scott doesn’t really want to know how other communities fund downtown redevelopment, he wants new fees or taxes that are […]

Bloomington taxpayers were scammed

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course a feasibility study was done before the Coliseum was built.  It predicted Revenue of $7.1 million and expenses of $4.8 million.  Operations would easily cover the cost of building it.   https://blnnews.com/2016/02/11/the-tale-of-the-coliseum-tari-a-hotel/ At last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, VenuWorks stated the arena would never lose LESS than $500,000. Any […]

Bloomington Council tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin The VenuWorks report is not the audited version, it is therefore immaterial.  Time allowed for the presentation is 5 minutes, included will be the fictional economic impact of the arena.  See PDF page 40:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=19928 Financial information is on PDF page 39.  The loss does not include depreciation on the building which […]

Bloomington Council for Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18588 Expenses that can be avoided by eliminating the Bloomington Election Commission: Renner feeding himself in MARCH:   Remember when America was a melting pot?  People didn’t come here to be different, they came to be Americans.  Those days are long gone in favor of “diversity”: Even Americans don’t want […]

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 […]

Touring Downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I toured the downtown core with a friend.  If the pics below have spots blurred, it because a reflection was caught in the pic.  My partner wishes to remain anonymous.  The Core area is bordered by Front, East, Market, and Madison.  It’s 12 square blocks. First, I was surprised by the […]

Cute and inviting vrs Bloomington

The tables in Champaign stay out all night, the chairs are secured in stacks on top of them. ________________ By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was on the radio this morning again proclaiming no city is successful without a successful downtown.  He of course learned that at the US Conference of Mayors, he’s going to another […]

Who destroyed downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin According to Wikipedia: Back in 1967 virtually nothing existed where Eastland Mall is today.  Locals tell me the City Council cheered the new mall without understanding moving anchor stores from downtown would result in today’s conditions. How many employees did the Pantagraph formerly have downtown?  They recently created another empty large building […]

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 […]

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 […]

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? .  

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 […]

Yes, they lied

By:  Diane Benjamin First the news:  Pepsi is not paying the Ice Center anymore for naming rights ($50,000 a year), the Coliseum is no longer receiving $125,000 from Pepsi as a sponsor there!  Both deals expired 3/31/2016.  I bet you didn’t know that!  total lost:  $175,000 Nothing is clearer than the lies told by Arena […]

State Farm is leaving downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from a reliable source that State Farm is not  remodeling their downtown Bloomington building.  It will be empty in mid January. Grand Cafe is not going to re-open. Maybe you can help compile a list of businesses no longer downtown. Lancasters Chocolatier Mueller, Reece & Hinch Attorneys Who else? Anybody open  […]

Hack off everybody Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin If the “welcoming ordinance” discussion isn’t divisive enough, the Downtown Task Force plan will also be presented.  Most of the crowd will be gone when the previous discussion ends.  The mob will only be there for the “No Justice No Peace” part.  The Council should have held a special session only for […]

Lunch with people who sue: Renner

By:  Diane Benjamin When the last Downtown Bloomington TIF ended, I hear David Bentley wasn’t happy with the money he got to rehab the CII East Building.  He sued the City in 2014. See the 2014 TIF report here:   ftp://ftp.illinoiscomptroller.com/LocGovTIF/FY2014/06402530/14TIF06402530Dwtwn_Cendistrict.pdf Since the TIF was pretty much over, expenses for legal fees were all that is […]

Downtown isn’t the City Core!

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown businesses didn’t even support the Downtown Bloomington Association.  Now the DBA employees are happy City employees complete with higher salaries, benefits and pensions! The Coliseum and the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts (BCPA) were supposed to brings hoards of people downtown. The Visitor’s Center in the McLean County History Museum was […]

The day CIAM quit

By:  Diane Benjamin This is the Pantagraph story announcing CIAM (John Butler) would not be renewing the contract to manage the Coliseum:  http://www.pantagraph.com/entertainment/u-s-cellular-coliseum-to-receive-new-management/article_194a2f7c-d482-5d82-8885-7e5eafddb2b4.html That was March 8, 2016.  Tari Renner is quoted saying CIAM might get a short-term contract to help with the transition – maybe 30-60-or 90 days.  Obviously Renner had no urgency to remove […]

Remember When . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Tari had to have a hotel downtown to “benefit the Coliseum”? Remember when he said over and over developers were lining up to get projects started downtown? Today Tari’s Downtown Task Force has the brilliant idea of moving the library and creating a bus transfer station. Neither will be private […]

It takes guts!

By:  Diane Benjamin Your elected aldermen in Bloomington really have guts!  On the same day they found out at least $1 Million was stolen from you – they voted to slap higher sewer and storm water rates on the victims of their ineptness!  Yes, that would be Bloomington taxpayers. The conversation was really amusing.  Scott […]

The Downtown Setup

By:  Diane Benjamin You already know that Tari Renner’s handpicked committee doesn’t represent the interest of anybody outside their tiny group who think downtown is the future.  (Decades of facts to the contrary are immaterial)   https://blnnews.com/2017/05/03/taris-downtown-task-force/ I know you don’t need proof, but: You can see what they have been up to here:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-552 I […]

Implosion – Downtown Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari’s Downtown Task Force mostly consists of people who had their hand out for your money and Council people dying to give them more.  The entire rest of Bloomington has no representation.  Maybe that’s why moving the library and adding a bus transfer point got shredded at the meeting Monday night.  See […]

Dream Big!

By:  Diane Benjamin   Monday night the Council has bills to pay, massive pension payments to approve, and a little misc stuff.  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14583 See page 285. A consultant came up with a “Branding Concept” for downtown: . That means signs:   Payment to KMA design of $62,190 was approved in 2016, Monday they get another […]

Hey Bloomington!

By:  Diane Benjamin Nothing coming from this Council or Tari’s Downtown Task Force should surprise anybody.  Vote for Big Spenders and you get the same policies that has the State with $15 Billion in unpaid bills!  (after the tax increase) The people Tari appointed  to plan downtown spending think just like him.  (Are any on […]

Failed Downtown Bloomington Assoc

By:  Diane Benjamin I hope Tari’s handpicked stacked Downtown Bloomington Committee is having fun dreaming of how to spend your money.  At the end of this month they will enlighten the public with ideas for getting people downtown.  Just because somebody builds it, it doesn’t mean anybody will come.  How many decades has taxpayer money […]

Hyatt hucksters or Normal nonsense?

By:  Diane Benjamin Something isn’t right with Hyatt reportedly changing their minds on wanting tax rebates from Normal. The resolution and new agreement was in the packet for last night’s meeting:  PDF page 159 and following:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2672 The Town of Normal didn’t seem to mind the handout – they put it on the agenda where […]