Bloomington needs to explain this:

By: Diane Benjamin Yes, I received this list by FOIA. Below is a list of properties where water appears to be shut off because there aren’t any current bills, at least that’s the policy. They all show past due amounts over 120 days. If even the first 10 pages (49 per page) have water shut […]

Bloomington: Here’s what you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin Bloomington spends a fortune on Information Technology: PDF page 165 https://www.bloomingtonil.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/27976/637892645121170000 . Spending MILLIONS of dollars every year should mean first class access to data. It doesn’t! Bloomington doesn’t know how many landlords were forced to pay bills for tenants a previous City Council said they didn’t have to pay. Bloomington doesn’t […]

Bloomington: Show some compassion

By: Diane Benjamin Jelani Day’s mom spoke at Public Comment last night via phone. Carmen Bolden-Day still has no answers more than a year after her son disappeared and was later found in the Illinois River. Carmen claimed she hasn’t been able to talk to investigators since February. She also talked about the handling of […]

New BCPA reports, you expected better?

By: Diane Benjamin For a change I didn’t have to FOIA the reports. https://www.bloomingtonil.gov/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-2027 New reports have been posted to the City website, these represent the beginning of a new season. They aren’t off to a good start if you believe entertainment shouldn’t be subsidized by people who can’t afford to attend: Loss: $13,792.88 Performance […]

Bloomington: MESSY website!

By: Diane Benjamin Monday’s Bloomington City Council meeting was SHORT. The video is only 33 minutes and 21 seconds. The stated purpose of the Committee of the Whole meeting was reviewing the Council Retreat. Mboka showed some slides, evidently the video is the only place to see them. The City website has a Documents tab: […]

Bloomington tonight: Want to avoid lawsuits?

By: Diane Benjamin Packet: The State of Illinois and local governments violated the Illinois Constitution by closing businesses and depriving landlords of income. Bloomington made it worse by sending unpaid water bills to landlords after telling renters they don’t have to pay. Illinois Constitution-Bill of Rights https://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con1.htm Government told renters they don’t have to pay […]

Tim Gleason wasn’t at the Council meeting, I bet I know why

By: Diane Benjamin I bet Tim is in Columbus Ohio attending the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)¬†Annual Conference. “With four days of learning, inspiration, and connection, attendees leave equipped with the tools and support they need to make their communities a better place to live, work, and play.” https://conference.icma.org/about/ In other words, learn new ways […]

Bloomington tonight 8-22-2022

By: Diane Benjamin FYI: Committee of the Whole meeting information from 8/15/2022 is missing from the City website. Tonight: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/cityblm/5a24c4d2-a62d-11ec-8a90-0050569183fa-36dc0a47-f3e1-4a7f-ab53-55227cac04fe-1660859356.pdf The mayor continues to reappoint the same people to Boards and Commissions, tonight the Transportation Commission. As a comment here stated – Renner is still running the City. Spending more of the free money that […]

Bloomington: priorities other than roads

By: Diane Benjamin The actual meeting was only around an hour. The Council was in Executive Session for the rest of the video. Gary Lambert lambasted the City for the cash reserve levels during Public Comment, this is a must listen: Hit play below to hear the City is only spending around $9 million on […]

Bloomington council Sanity

By: Diane Benjamin The Council proved they are capable of sane discussions last night, maybe because one person was absent. Can Bloomington get the names right? Donna Boelen was acting mayor last night since Mboka is out of the country because of his father’s passing. Nice job Donna for the first time being thrust into […]

Transparency lacking in Bloomington

By: Diane Benjamin Taxpayers OWN Bloomington government, they work for you! Why is it so difficult to get information? Instead of fixing the functionality of the City website, they just redesign it. They have many useless tabs that aren’t used, nobody is cleaning them up or making SEARCHING for information easier. It’s almost like hiding […]

Dying to know what Bloomington is doing tonight?

By: Diane Benjamin FYI: While your retirement savings are being hit hard, so are the Defined Benefit Plans for Public Sector employees. You will get the bill since no one is willing to amend the Illinois Constitution. Redesigning the City website means Bills and Payroll have to be searched for now, somebody forgot to add […]

UPDATE: Is the Bloomington Library Safe for Kids?

See another book the library had on display on May below. H/t a reader. By: Diane Benjamin Maybe this is why Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe refused to consider appointing new people to the Library Board who applied, he reappointed Renner’s people instead. See this 2019 story about a conference some library personnel attended: https://blnnews.com/2019/07/20/drag-queens-at-the-library/ This national […]

Huge Transparency problem in Bloomington

By: Diane Benjamin Did you know some Bloomington officials SEARCH on this website because it is impossible to find what you are looking for on the City of Bloomington website? Instead of concentrating on function, the City is changing the look of the Bloomington website and providing LESS vital information. Example: https://www.cityblm.org/government/city-council/meetings-and-agendas Details from this […]

Did Julie Emig violate City Code ethics?

By: Diane Benjamin At Monday’s Bloomington Council meeting approving money for the Ecology Action Center was on the Consent Agent. Everything on it was passed with one unanimously vote including this to the Ecology Action Center: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/cityblm/5a1a631e-a62d-11ec-8a90-0050569183fa-36dc0a47-f3e1-4a7f-ab53-55227cac04fe-1654897109.pdf One problem – h/t a reader: Julie Emig is listed on the Ecology Action Center website as a […]

Bloomington: Mboka doesn’t like change

By: Diane Benjamin http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1170&Inline=True Tari Renner stacked all the Board and Commission. Mboka continues to just reappoint the same people. No Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Mboka? This item shouldn’t be on the Consent Agenda, it should be pulled for further discussion. Does the City want to risk an abandoned property if the owners can’t use […]

Bloomington Roads History and the American Rescue Plan money

By: Diane Benjamin I probably have at least 100 stories since 2012 on road conditions. Tari Renner ran for office promising to fix them – twice. https://blnnews.com/2018/01/24/its-the-roads-stupid/ In 2012 the City passed an Action Plan that included “smooth rides on quality well-maintained street”. https://blnnews.com/2015/02/26/if-you-like-your-roads-you-can-keep-your-roads/ In late 2013 or early 2014 the City borrowed $10,000,000 for […]

2 more things from Bloomington last night

By: Diane Benjamin Mboka should be ashamed of himself for re-appointments made last night. Instead interviewing candidates that I know applied to fill expiring terms, he re-appointed Tari Renner’s picks. It’s a sad day for Bloomington when people who haven’t been involved aren’t allowed to even meet with the mayor. How about some people that […]

Part 1 of Bloomington last night

By: Diane Benjamin One Public Comment was exceptional last night. Gary Lambert speaks pretty often, always showing lots of common sense. Gary responded to something Mayor Mboka wrote in the Pantagraph wanting the State to quite keeping more of the local tax money than they used to. Gary threw that letter back in his face […]

Bloomington: You deserve reports!

By: Diane Benjamin’ I think the Grossinger Motors naming rights expire next year. It was a 5 year agreement in June of 2017. Expect something really original like Bloomington Arena to replace it. Of course that means new signage. Maybe the City can just paint the name on the building instead (don’t hold your breath). […]

And now for some comedy:

By: Diane Benjamin At the last Normal Town Council meeting Stan Nord asked about the One Voice trip – $1600 each for 3 people, not including air fare. He asked why the meetings can’t be done virtually. The three from Normal will be meeting in person with representatives from this area, other meetings will be […]

No vote Bloomington?

By: Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request with Bloomington earlier in January. Since I watch every Council meeting and never heard a discussion about moving offices to the Government Center, I wondered how much it cost. I also wondered who was still working at the Old City Hall. I got the FOIA yesterday, I […]

Who approved Bloomington’s move?

By: Diane Benjamin Maybe a better question is how much have citizens been charged for Bloomington to move from the Old City Hall to the Government Center? Council meetings used to be held on Olive Street. The City website doesn’t have that address anymore, it has been changed to Washington St. See the bottom of […]