Why City employees cost so much (revised)

By:  Diane Benjamin At tonight’s City Council meeting ratification of a contract for Sergeant and Lieutenants is on the consent agenda. They will be getting retroactive raises back to May 1, 2017: PDF page 92:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16030 PDF page 142 shows the previous contract wage increases were 1.5%. PDF page 149 still has Sick Leave Buy Back! […]

Normal vrs Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal’s budget: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/budget-cuts-fee-hikes-monthly-water-bills-coming-to-normal/article_5a6c2b16-486f-5010-9330-9caafd2ebcc9.html   Bloomington’s proposed budget: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/city-hikes-garbage-fee-reduces-bulky-waste-pickups/article_98969c25-05f0-5009-966f-737908b06f3d.html   Normal is spending $1879.70 per resident. Bloomington is spending $2743.41 per resident Bloomington also has around twice as many employees with benefits and pensions that have to be funded. Which city will be filing for bankruptcy first? . . .    

Government for the employees

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington changed the pension spiking policy for all new hires after they became liable for the increased cost – that was in 2012. The policy has not been changed for existing employees.  Why should any person be entitled to a pension they didn’t earn? Employees are getting paid months before they retire for […]

Citizen Budget cuts

By:  Diane Benjamin Since Alderman Hauman’s citizen budget group hasn’t been allowed to discuss their findings at a Council meeting, I want you to see their work. (moving the library and a Welcoming Ordinance for illegals are evidently more important) The group started with the items discussed at the November retreat.  The retreat was the […]

Are Hauman and citizens ignored?

By:  Diane Benjamin Alderman Diana Hauman took it on herself to gather citizen input on the budget.  She asked 6 people to look at the budget and look for savings.  2 had to drop off, but 4 with extensive business experience spent months looking at everything.  Evidently they aren’t allowed to present their findings because […]

Government thinks you are REALLY stupid

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington and Normal are the only cities doing their own garbage pickup in the area.  According to the Pantagraph, Normal did their own investigation of rates. They declared NO money could be saved by privatizing garbage pickup. See the chart here:  http://www.pantagraph.com/graphic-waste-collection-fees-services/pdf_a5d93a81-e7db-537c-b830-c5fafd8a34bc.html The Pantagraph must not have noticed some of those other cities […]

Bloomington Meeting Recap

By:  Diane Benjamin All you need to know about what happened at last nights extremely long Council meeting: Your gas tax is going to double to .08 per gallon because you want the roads fixed and they can’t find any money You will get an estimated $10 million aquatics center, no word whether it will […]

Update: Council is selling out taxpayers tonight

No discussion!  Passed 9-0 along with the rest of the consent agenda.   By:  Diane Benjamin Citizens are OUTRAGED that City employees have been allowed to spike their pensions by accumulating sick days.  The costs to taxpayers is close to $2 million. Tonight the Council will approve a new union contract, with a $200 signing […]

The Dead Tree Chronicles.

By:  Diane Benjamin Saturday the Pantagraph cried in an editorial wanting to be relevant.  Today they printed the City talking points.  They don’t understand that regurgitating what government buddies want you to say doesn’t drive people to read!   See: http://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/bechtel-daily-newspapers-worth-the-price/article_a10766c7-c709-5c81-b62f-519f8800ec01.html http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/government-and-politics/city-staff-to-give-council-options-for-m-deficit/article_5e8cdbfc-3bf5-508b-9d97-f0307f5331e2.html The packet for tonight has very little information on the new budget – See […]

Normal: This one is for you!

By:  Diane Benjamin The story below appeared in the Pantagraph on October 21, 2003.  It is available on microfiche at the Bloomington Public Library. Normal raised your property taxes this year by blaming pensions. They used the same excuse in 2003 and every year since. Instead of budgeting for expenses they have to pay, they […]

FACT: Normal’s pensions

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal has to cover all these pensions every month.  How much money would you have to pay into retirement to get these monthly benefits? This is only the first 50.  As of 2016 124 former employees of the Town of Normal are collecting pensions.  https://www.openthebooks.com/search/?PensionCode=1000&F_fiscalyear=2016&F_employernm=Town%20Of%20Normal&F_employeenm= MONTHLY!

Everybody in Normal must be rich!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight:  Town of Normal 7:00 p.m. Public Hearing on a proposed Property Tax Levy . I expect few citizens will show up to express outrage that their government is not capable of living within their means.  The Council and the Mayor are counting on it. This hearing is required because the Town […]

Normal Tossing Money (Yours!)

By: Diane Benjamin Normal bills for Monday night: http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/279242  When your property taxes go up Monday: You will be told the cost of other people’s retirements went up: The real reason is the debt Normal has incurred building utopia. . Look at all the INTEREST payments below in Monday’s packet.  They total  $1,628,761.92. It gets […]

Normal throws money at employees

By:  Diane Benjamin When the citizens aren’t paying attention to what their government is doing, you get the below.  If you thought $100,000,000 was ridiculous for Uptown, be prepared for more folly. PDF page 59:   http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/7440 This statement is in the Town of Normal’s Annual Report: There is a good reason people want to work […]

Fleece, but be Transparent

By:  Diane Benjamin The taxpayers of Bloomington have been abused by their chicken government.  I’m talking about pension spiking.  It’s bad enough taxpayers with no pensions are forced to pay for the retirements of highly paid city employees.  It’s worse when they are allowed to increase their retirements at your expense when it’s easily avoidable. […]

Normal’s Economic Development Exposed

By:  Diane Benjamin Chris Koos recently spoke at a “State of McLean County” event.    See the newspaper story HERE Koos thinks his job is reducing economic inequity, delivering opportunity, social equity and sustainability. If his claims were true, the Council wouldn’t be set to raise property taxes to fill holes in their budget. Stealing more […]

Here is just one reason Normal raises taxes:

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s just a few of the Town’s recent follies:  (there are more) Portillos give away – $1,825,000 plus interest:  https://blnnews.com/2016/12/02/portillo-town-monday-night/ Greenbriar Shopping Center – $4.8 million  https://blnnews.com/2017/10/16/normal-revised-schedule-spending/ $100,000 to the Mclean County History Museum + $700,000 that wasn’t budgeted:   https://blnnews.com/2017/09/04/normals-funnybusiness-tuesday/ $420,853.49 for new furniture  https://blnnews.com/2017/07/16/you-arent-supposed-to-notice/ Rivian! Here’s one you probably forgot or never knew: The […]

Normal Taxpayers got SCAMMED!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night Trustees RC McBride and Kevin McCarthy went out of their way to thanks the 5 citizens who spoke at Public Comment.  They needed to because 3 out of the 5 were plants. Normal illegally requires citizens who want to speak to sign up hours in advance.  That gives Koos and […]

Normal: It’s the Council’s fault!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal is pretending pension expenses are mandated by the State and they can’t afford them without raising Property Taxes. Somehow the Police and Fire pensions have been seriously underfunded for years.  IMRF retirements have been funded above the 80% level since 2013, think Mark Peterson’s retirement, while in 2016 […]

Blatant Taxpayer Abuse

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington knew the law had changed on pension spiking in 2012.  They changed the policy for NEW hires, but not for existing employees. Here’s the recap: The IMRF retirement fund was tired of paying for spiked pensions because of Sick Leave Buy Back payments that inflated ending salaries. Since […]

Did Hales change personalities?

By:  Diane Benjamin I thought for a minute somebody had kidnapped David Hales and replaced him with a conservative.  He actually said the Council must lean how to say NO.  He said the City can’t maintain what we have now, but people keep talking about building new things. Library David? Aquatics center?  Sports complex?  Public […]

Fun Facts (or not so fun facts)

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington population:  78,005 Normal Population:  54,264 Bloomington Total Budget:  $214,126,710 PDF Page 2:  http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=13155 Normal Total Budget:  $107,133,177 PDF Page 15   http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/11571 Normal has 30% fewer citizens. Normal budgets 50% of what Bloomington does. Bloomington spends $2,745 for every citizens Normal spends $1,974 for every citizen Bloomington total debt 4/30/16:  270,629,828 http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ProcessSearchResults.cfm?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Indebtedness&Code=064/025/30&CFY=2016&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No 4/30/17 information […]

Town of Normal Debt

By:  Diane Benjamin As of 3/31/17 PDF page 41:  http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12750 Yes the citizens still owe $87,783,723 for Koos’s Uptown dreams. Police pensions are only 51.76% funded (PDF Page 129) Fire pensions are only 55.53% funded (PDF Page 130) That is why citizens are on the hook for $56,106.352 just for these two pension funds.  Obviously the guys […]

Bam! Higher Ed CLUELESS!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph Opinion Page continues to be an endless source of entertainment.  Orchestrated Letters to the Editor are claiming voting rights locally have been violated.  The election is more than a year away and normal everyday people are writing letters asking you to vote for their candidate?  Keep in mind:  Repeat a […]

More on Bloomington Roads

By:  Diane Benjamin If I hadn’t been out of town this weekend, I would have written A LOT more on the Pantagraph story that attempted to make you believe the Bloomington roads are getting better.  It’s really difficult to compose story on a cell phone, so I left a lot of details to readers:  https://blnnews.com/2017/09/24/more-pantagraph-conspires-with-city/ […]

Dumping Dollars Downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown Bloomington is going to get more of your money tonight: Just at this one meeting the History Museum gets $145,000 (https://blnnews.com/2017/08/27/bloomington-supports-friends-with-your-money/ ) and the DBA doesn’t need to support itself.  You get 2 new employees with gold-plated benefits and pensions! Another $289,305 sucked out of your wallet!   See the DBA […]

How many LIES will you tolerate?

By:  Diane Benjamin “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”  –Thomas Jefferson “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.”  –William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783 Just this year the City of Bloomington created a Transportation Committee, a […]

WJBC: Scott wrong again!

By:  Diane Benjamin Scott Laughlin clarified this morning on WJBC why the local media is useless.  The host hates people who think government should do nothing. Scottie doesn’t realize “those”  people don’t want government doing nothing, they want them doing only the things the population can’t do themselves.  Like fix the roads!  How are the Bloomington […]

Council Monday night

By:  Diane Benjamin Every vote was 9-0 with virtual no discussion, so the Council part of the meeting was boring. Public comment was better.  Note to City:  The length of public comment isn’t 30 minutes – the time citizens spend talking is 30 minutes.  The chair is capable of wasting the public’s time. First up […]

Why City Councils don’t listen

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight Bloomington is holding a public hearing on the budget for the year that starts May 1st. All you need to know is Bloomington is planning on hiring 4 more employees which will make the pension liability even higher and, to balance the budget, they are robbing the Enterprise Funds: I guess […]

Another Spiked Pension

By:  Diane Benjamin From Monday’s Bills and Payroll:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12446 Employees are still allowed to SPIKE their pensions by getting paid for accumulated sick and vacation days. TWO courts have recently ruled that employers do not have to allow this, of course the rules haven’t been changed.  It just cost you another $32,106.66.  The City is […]

Bloomington Pensions

By:  Diane Benjamin Citizens need to know why there is no money for government to do their job without constantly raising taxes. Retired employee PENSIONS, in addition to Social Security and Medicare, and spiked pensions are the problem. Below are just some of the Monthly pensions payments retired City employees are currently receiving.  Note, it […]

The Budget Workshop that wasn’t

By:  Diane Benjamin Thanks to Steve Vogel who today mentioned in his weekly column that Bloomington is in a recession.  Moody’s Analytics  reported that in January (and so did I), but the media has been ignoring it. Anyone who attended the Bloomington “Budget Workshop” today would have seen Bloomington is also ignoring that fact.  If […]

Budget Cuts made easy

By:  Diane Benjamin Cuts could be easy, but nobody at the City wants to cut! It is impossible to suggest specific budget cuts for Bloomington because the data isn’t available.  The City issued hundreds of pages saying where the money is being spent without any details. Was there a line item last year for the […]

Excuses OVER Renner!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner’s claims to now be protecting the taxpayers of Bloomington in the Metro Zone flap are a joke. Why? Besides the fact that 5 Aldermen put Metro Zone on the agenda, not Renner – what happened to the letters Tari received at Rosie’s from citizens about their health insurance costs?  We […]

Show this to Tari supporters!

By:  Diane Benjamin The budget Tari Renner inherited when he became mayor was $167 million.  (2014)  Page 3 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=5104 2015 budget was $180.4 million  Page 3 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=7075 This took 13.4 million out of the local economy 2016 budget was 186.3 million  Page 15 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=9210 This took another 6.3 out of the local economy for a […]

Mayor candidates: #FactsMatter

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a video on-line of their mayoral candidate interviews.  See the video below.  Yes, as Tari likes to say FACTS do matter.  The video is less than an hour – watch it. Diane Hauman is already planning to increase fees for garbage service even though a January 17, 2017  presentation […]

Bloomington: $20 Million in cuts?

By:  Diane Benjamin Can $20 million be cut from Bloomington’s budget?  David Hales thinks disaster would strike Bloomington if the tax increases were rolled back.  (The media happily reports it!) Here’s a better question: The 2012 TOTAL budget was $165.3 million (Pre Tari) The 2013 TOTAL budget was $167 million (Pre Tari) That 2017 TOTAL […]

Will the GOP help the DEMS fleece you?

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course Illinois doesn’t have enough money!  Springfield has no interest in a balanced budget and spending cuts.  Democrats want more of your money and the Republicans may help them get it because they are desperate. Your income tax could be going up 40%.  In exchange you get a two-year property tax […]

Setting the record straight:

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday the Pantagraph did a story about County union employee salary increases:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/mclean-county-highway-workers-get-raises/article_e1a807b1-6dcc-535b-83dd-f39b4b00079f.html This paragraph is in the story: Two problems:  The City of Bloomington has been hit by at least 24 penalties amounting to around $1.6 million. (it could be more by now) That’s not “several”. Second, the County negotiated with […]

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