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! Advertisements

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 […]

The Debate!

By:  Diane Benjamin It was WONDERFUL only having 3 of the 5 candidates show up last night, the audience got much more information from the candidates than would have been possible with all 5 there.  The room was packed with people wanting to hear what the candidates had to say. If you didn’t attend or […]

Nothing better than LIES

By:  Diane Benjamin One more note from last night’s Council meeting.  Renner lied – how many times does this make?  Of course, he wouldn’t even recognize lies anymore. The topic was Sick Leave Buy Back again.  The City policy was changed in 2012 to make any new hires not eligible for this benefit available nowhere […]

HOW many employees?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council voted last night to spend $894,537.07 over 5 years for timekeeping and scheduling software. Claims were made about reducing a massive amount of paperwork. Nobody bothered to ask how many employees will no longer be needed with this massive reduction of time and paperwork. Nicole showed a pic […]

Pantagraph fails at truth again

By:  Diane Benjamin The daily rag has a new story about pension spiking at the City of Bloomington.  In an effort to deflect from the City’s unethical practice of allowing employees to spike their pensions with unused sick days, they even call the practice legal. It is legal because Bloomington’s Mayor, City Manager, and Council […]

Watch the Normal Council raise your taxes

By:  Diane Benjamin At the last Normal Town Council meeting property taxes were raised.  There was the obligatory gnashing of teeth before the ENTIRE Council voted yes, they are all wonderful actors pretending pensions funding isn’t their fault.  Blame the State, blame under performing markets,  never Uptown! The video is available here:  http://normal.org/779/Council-Videos The entire […]

Dear Jim Fruin,

(Jim announced last night he is not running for reelection.  Petitions are due 11/21 – info here:  http://www.becvote.org/wordpress/) Dear Jim, Here’s the problem:  The citizens feel like their government is stalking them like a famished predator. They have good reasons:  Amusement Tax, Utilities tax, Gas Tax, Sales Tax, Garbage fee increases, Liquor fee increases More […]

David Hales screw-ups

By:  Diane Benjamin Hales is frequently praised for pulling Bloomington back from the brink of disaster, but Tari Renner claimed he did it when he became mayor.  See his announcement for re-election.  Both believe taxing people to death creates prosperity.  For government it does, not so much for those not in or profiting from government.  […]

Unit 5 salaries

By:  Diane Benjamin Household income in McLean is said to be around $60,000, maybe slightly higher. According to Open The Books – Unit 5,  the top 250 employees in Unit 5 made more than $74,000 in 2015. The top 500 employees earn more than $59,000. 912 employees are currently members of the teacher’s union negotiating […]

Bloomington Credit AA+, see WHY!

By:  Diane Benjamin Fitch hasn’t changed Bloomington’s credit rating from AA+, but you need to understand why.  See the story here:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fitch-affirms-bloomington-ils-gos-182900665.html They seem to have miss the local RISING unemployment rate, even though the story does mention Mitsubishi closing. The article has much more information. I’m sure Mayor Renner will tout his great management. […]

Proof the Council is immaterial

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve now got proof that Bills and Payroll, approved by the Council at regular meetings, is meaningless.  Nobody is holding checks waiting for the Council vote.  I wonder how many aldermen even read what they are asked to approve! If you don’t know what Bills and Payroll looks like, see this webpage.  […]

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