Proof Unit 5 abuses taxpayers

By: Diane Benjamin Below is another chart from the BNWRD financial statements. Since the source is the Economic Development Council, all local governments have the same information: Unit 5 has almost 300 more employees now than they had in 2014. That would make sense is they had more students. They don’t! For the 2013-2014 […]

Here’s your answer from yesterday

By: Diane Benjamin Yesterday I found these two charts that are problematic: I cut the sources off the next one so I can make it bigger: (See them here: Both of these are from the documentation for the November 13, 2023 BNWARD meeting. You won’t find it on-line, they email it to me every […]

McLean County will be forced to change their Public Comment policy – FINALLY

By: Diane Benjamin I’ve been waiting years for someone to file with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access division concerning their policies. Public Comment is Freedom of Speech and a 1st Amendment Right to address grievances with YOUR government. McLean County thinks you need to give them 24 hours notice if you want to speak. […]

Connect Transit has secrets

By: Diane Benjamin The agenda for meetings has to be posted 48 hours in advance – Open Meetings Act. Maybe everyone is taking time off, but the agenda for the 11/28 meeting is posted now. That is at least a week early: Here is just one of likely many secrets: The secret is the […]

3 things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Did the City of Bloomington really tell the Salvation Army they can’t use mats so homeless have a place to sleep on cold nights because it’s too dangerous? People can shelter there but they won’t be allowed to sleep. Is sleeping more dangerous or being non-productive all winter because sleeping isn’t […]

Unit 5 – you elected them

By: Diane Benjamin WGLT story on Unit 5 property taxes: Your property taxes are going up because Unit 5 needs the money. Below is a quote showing the mentality of the people you elected: People buy homes to live in. It doesn’t matter how much more your house is worth if you aren’t planning […]

Public Servants that aren’t a priority

By: Diane Benjamin More from the Comptroller’s data, see links to the data in this story: IMRF pension funding is all employees that aren’t police and fire: Bloomington: IMRF: 89.6% funded, surprisingly down from 111.8% Police: 56.6%, down from 62.2% Fire: 57.1%, down from 62.9% Normal: IMRF: 86.0% funded, down from 106.2% Police: 49%, […]

Surprise surprise-Comptroller suddenly has the data

By: Diane Benjamin Of course the data is now close to moldy. Normal’s is from 3/31/23, Bloomington’s is from 4/30/23. Funny how they both appeared on the same day. Yesterday. Blomington’s TIF reports are now available too. Links to the reports – Easy to read data which is why it wasn’t available until now: […]

When the left turns on the left

By: Diane Benjamin In case you missed it, pro-Palatine protestors crashed the annual Democrat meeting at ISU: I doubt County Board member Krystle Able has ever studied Karl Marx, but she supports his policies anyway: Hint Krystle: Marx was a disgusting human being who lived off other people. He was widely rejected during his […]

Is Normal getting paid to destroy quiet single family house neighborhoods?

By: Diane Benjamin See this link directly from the White House: One excerpt: Restrictive zoning means not allowing multi-family housing in established single-family neighborhoods. Biden is willing to pay LOCAL government for EQUITY. So how much is Normal planning to collect to change the zoning at Beech and Shelbourne? Since no one currently elected […]

I’m not fighting YOUR fights – You have to

By: Diane Benjamin McLean County is already planning to massively raise your property taxes. Every other unit of government might be making the same plans, after all your property values increased substantially – you can afford it right? If you don’t stand up for yourself IN PERSON they will take more of your money. Emails […]

Comptroller’s office finally tells the truth

By: Diane Benjamin More on these two stories: As I stated in one of the stories above, government employees would rather talk to me over the phone instead of in writing. That eliminates the paper trail, the email below proves it: On November 9, 2023, at 3:41 PM, “Pallasch, Abdon” <a[email protected]> wrote: Hmmm… […]

Comptroller’s office responded, just not with an explanation

By: Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story: I didn’t send that story to them, somebody must have or they found the “tag”. I received an email yesterday: . I didn’t use an email address because the on-line contact form doesn’t have one. See it here: I rarely make phone calls because I want […]

Illinois Comptroller must have decided to void transparency

By: Diane Benjamin The purpose of the Local Government Data on the Comptroller’s website is to present finances in a way citizens can understand. When the data isn’t available it should make everyone wonder why! Normal’s year end was last March 31st. The “landing page” for Normal has been updated to reflect the FY 2023 […]

Looks like Unit 5 is now hiding enrollment

By: Diane Benjamin Below is what the website looked like until yesterday. Click on About Us – then District Information. The Student Enrollment tab was listed which took you to this page: Student Enrollment has been removed as an option. The link used to be: Click that now to see: This page is currently […]

Unit 5 enrollment

By: Diane Benjamin The Unit 5 website still hasn’t been updated: I did receive this information by FOIA after reminding them it was past due. The first response was this: Unit 5 has 12,815 students, which would also include students with partial enrollments or special education enrollments (i.e students at Private Schools in town that we are […]

Unit 5 has lost 1,447 students since 2016

By: Diane Benjamin My FOIA for the current enrollment is due today. The highest enrollment in the last 13 years was in 2016: 13,751. Last school year enrollment was only 12,304 – that is a DECREASE of 1,447 students. If classrooms are overcrowded it has to be because Unit 5 refuses to use their resources […]

Uptown TIF fallacy

By: Diane Benjamin Source: Page 1 states the TIF was formed on 5/5/2003. Now see page 11. Why did the Town of Normal use 1999? The TIF wasn’t active in 1999, was this to make the return on investment look better? What private or public investment took place between 11/1/99 and 5/4/2003 that shouldn’t […]

Facts Connect Transit used to buy Proterra buses

By: Diane Benjamin At this week’s meeting it was mentioned that Champaign is trying hydrogen buses. It was mentioned Connect Transit might go that direction when they need more buses. Of course that would require different infrastructure. It would have been a lot easier to keep diesel buses and a lot faster to refuel them. […]

New Illinois meeting in Bloomington!

By: Diane Benjamin I didn’t get this read early enough for you to attend for meals, but you can still attend sessions and find out more about New Illinois. Downstate has very little in common with Chicago, New Illinois divides the state. The main speaker this weekend is working on doing the same in California. […]

Look what’s coming! 🥶

By: Diane Benjamin It was worth going to a few Tri-Valley School Board meetings to ask for more transparency. I hope someday they decide to live stream meetings! Of course District 87 still doesn’t. The new transparency Tri-Valley is doing is worthless unless people READ what’s being discussed. Evidently nobody read the September 20th Superintendent’s […]

The 2050 Transportation Plan

By: Diane Benjamin McLean County Regional Planning Commission: Metropolitan Long-Range Transportation Plan 2050 This report will be used by all local governments to make transportation decisions. Reading it will make you aware of what is coming. It is 311 pages, you don’t have to read every page since many are just the same information in […]

Smart City: Normal Il

By: Diane Benjamin Another reader temporarily sucked me back into covering Normal. If you didn’t know Normal adapted Smart Cities a few years ago it is likely because they don’t want you to know. See this link: Smart Cities aren’t locally run, they take marching orders from international organizations that exist for government, not […]

Letter to the Editor the paper did print

Since most people never saw it, the writer asked me to print it too. LETTER: Chung, council ignore taxpayers Normal made two recent requests seeking public input regarding art and the proposed Vernon Avenue improvements. However, Normal only accepts input when it supports the proposed project as presented to gain public support for the projects. […]

More on Proterra buses (oops)

By: Diane Benjamin New article from Wyoming: Connect Transit bought Proterra buses even though there was plenty of evidence other cities had problems with them, some abandoned them. In June CT bought $7,507.10 in parts from Proterra. In July they bought $3,799.64 more. In August they spent $1,334.80 on parts and tools. Keep in […]

Need proof Unit 5 exists to create activists?

By: Diane Benjamin The Illinois State Board of Education hasn’t released the Report Card for Unit 5 yet for the 2022-2023 year. Keep in mind the previous year showed 29% of students headed to college needed Community College Remediation. How deficent are the students who choose not to go to college? Unit 5 has […]

Empty buses – the proof:

By: Diane Benjamin Documentation for yesterday’s meeting: Since June was their year-end, reporting was delayed. The TOTAL OPERATING DEFICIT for last fiscal year was: $15,360,045 June loss: PDF page 8 July loss: PDF page 14 August loss: PDF page 20 June TOTAL income: $112,061 July TOTAL income: $93,493 August TOTAL income: $153,627 The moral […]

Covering one thing in Normal only because a reader found it important

By: Diane Benjamin A total of 1,609 scientists, professors and other scholars have signed on to a new declaration that argues there is no climate change crisis. That didn’t stop Normal City Manager Pam Reece telling WGLT Normal has been affected by Climate Change: Reece claims the trees were affected by heat and […]

Bloomington’s Short Meeting

By: Diane Benjamin Everyone but Tim Gleason managed to show at last night. Gleason might have been attending another meeting. Jenna Kearns: Just stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. You would look like less of a hypocrite: The upcoming presentation for downtown wasn’t mentioned, supposedly the room in the Government Center will be done. […]

Why is local unemployment up?

By: Diane Benjamin The below is from the downloaded document on this website: Bloomington means Bloomington-Normal. Almost every metro is showing higher unemployment now than 1 year ago. If you download the document you will see the number of jobs is higher. More jobs but more unemployment. Makes perfect sense.

Socialism enshrined in the Illinois Constitution

By: Diane Benjamin This was the Preamble to the Illinois Constitution before it was changed in 1970: . Below is the current Preamble: . As Bloomington goes full on socialist know that Illinois enshrined socialism in the State Constitution way back in 1970. (Bloomington is considering tiered water rates, requiring private investment to […]

Rivian’s new Assessed Value for Property Taxes

By: Diane Benjamin Keep in mind voters were scared into giving Unit 5 the right to increase tax rates. The below is using the rate Unit 5 charged property owners in 2022. They now have the right to charge you much more regardless of how much the assessed value of your property increased. The below […]

County Administrator Cassy Taylor salary

By: Diane Benjamin Evidently your McLean County representatives don’t want you to know how much Cassy Taylor is paid. A salary increase was approved last Thursday with no mention of how much it was. The agenda said: A. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Elizabeth Johnston The only transparency here is the County answered my FOIA request within […]

Celebrate Constitution Day!

By: Diane Benjamin Since the actual Constitution was signed 236 years ago yesterday and it fell on a weekend, the National Constitution Center is celebrating today. See their website: Most of the problems we face today are because the Constitution is immaterial. Restoring the principles that made America the shining city on the hill […]


It is impossible for me to cover all local units of government myself, therefore I am going to quit covering Normal. If anyone actually cares about schools, I need help there too. Your part-time mayor driving a vehicle taxpayers paid almost $74,000 for and putting regular plates on it instead of government plates didn’t make […]