More on the VA story from yesterday

By:  Diane Benjamin This is an update to yesterday’s story:     https://blnnews.com/2018/07/11/not-the-right-fit-tari/ This morning I spoke to the Marine veteran who was the subject of the Facebook post by Danny Leifel.  He wants to remain anonymous because of the large number of phone calls he received yesterday. One phone call he never received was from […]

Guest Editorial: Deep Disappointment

Bloomington City Council Members: At this point, I have to trust that during the search and decision process for a new City Manager, you all garnered significantly more knowledge and capability, than any single citizen has, linked to selecting the best candidate for City Manager. At this point your constituents can only hope that the future provides […]

Threw a party, few came

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday a Meet and Greet was held for the three remaining Bloomington City Manager candidates.  The paper failed to report a crowd was expected but didn’t show up.  The below is from reports by two people who did attend.  Citizens can vote for their choice at a link below. People who did […]

Last night Council meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin The majority of the meeting was spent talking about TIF districts.  The City of Bloomington currently has two:  Empire Corridor which is a massive area along Empire street, and Downtown Southwest.  The City is trying to get approval from the other taxing bodies for two more:  The old Junior High building area […]

Missing Minutes is a pattern

By:  Diane Benjamin In the past month I had to file a FOIA request for the missing Sister Cities Committee minutes:    https://blnnews.com/2018/04/18/cut-sister-cities/ I also had to file for the minutes missing from the Police Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB):    https://blnnews.com/2018/05/17/pscrb-update-police-review-board/ The March and April Liquor Commission minutes are also missing: Tari needs to tell […]

Tax Tax Tax

By:  Diane Benjamin The horrific State policies that led to people fleeing Illinois are now local.  Government must have more and more of your money because they have more and more things they MUST do. Actually, those things don’t need to be done, but progressive Democrats need to control your life because they are so […]

Local Motor Fuel Tax Facts

By:  Diane Benjamin The current .04 a gallon Motor Fuel Tax was passed on April 21, 2014.    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6667 The documentation for this meeting claimed it would generate around $1 Million for transportation infrastructure:   (PDF page 25) http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6644 ____________________________ The very next year $2,400,000 was budgeted as expected receipts: PDF page 38 http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=9706 Was the Council […]

Are they really this clueless?

By: Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council is holding a Committee of the Whole Monday night.  Before Tari, the Council didn’t have 4 Council meetings a month and an additional meeting in between.  Think the endless hours of meetings have something to do with the spending being out of control – of course it does!  […]

FAA, CIRA, and Soccer

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request with the FAA pertaining to the soccer fields on January 31, 2018.  I received it today by mail.  It’s not that big, no word on why it had to be mailed. So, why does soccer need to leave the airport property? See this 1994 letter written by […]

Bloomington – FOIA please!

By:  Diane Benjamin So much spending, so little information.  Some items require an explanation, leave a comment for items YOU will FOIA.  I have far too many outstanding FOIA’s already. Bills and Payroll for Monday:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16156 Your March contribution to mostly empty buses: Anybody want to guess what this is? Media payoff: I wonder how […]

EDC 2016 Tax Return

By:  Diane Benjamin How did the Economic Development Council lose $298.319 in 2015 and another $326,863 in 2016?  Spending more than they take in! From the 2016 tax return: With losses like their’s, what kind of help did they provide? We now know how much Kyle Ham was being paid in 2016:   PDF page 10 […]

Other items from last night’s meeting

By:  Diane Benjamin The City wants you to believe they can control only 5% of the budget.  State mandates were heavily blamed. The budget discussion starts around 1:28. Not blamed was the cost of employees, the cost of their lavish benefits, and pension spiking. This Council made it worse when they hired two more employees […]

Sneak through a consultant

By:  Diane Benjamin This item is on the agenda for the pre-council meeting Monday, it’s buried at the bottom. Delivering City services in a cost effective efficient manner?  PDF page 63:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15810 , Wasting $20,000 to search for a City Manager! . Connect the dots: GovHR website lists Heidi Voorhees prominently:  http://www.govhrusa.com/about-us.aspx OpenSecrets.org has this:   https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=Heidi+Voorhees   So […]

Another Employee Party!

By:  Diane Benjamin In case you didn’t know, the City of Bloomington Employee Activities Committee threw a party on October 31, 2017:    https://blnnews.com/2017/12/12/party-on/ EAC threw themselves another party on January 27th at the BCPA – the Winter Event.  This time there is no reference to a charge for attending. The City even PAID the BCPA […]

It’s the Roads Stupid

By:  Diane Benjamin Number ONE priority of citizens: Fix the roads! The budget being considered by the Bloomington City Council has no money for roads except taxes they already increased to pay for repairs: .04 a gallon gas tax 1/4% Sales tax The Council will be happy to double the gas tax to fix roads. […]

Normal spent $20,000 anyway

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal picked their assistant City Manager to replace Mark Peterson.  Evidently the search firm they hired couldn’t find anybody better than Pamela Reece.  They throw away $20,000 to find that out though.  Is Bloomington going to throw away money too?  Steve Rasmussen is right there in front of them! […]

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 […]

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 […]

Council shift-last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Is the Bloomington City Council finally waking up?  Do they realize they have no wide-spread support for their downtown spending when the roads are still crap? Alderman Bray pulled a revised Council schedule from the Consent Agenda in order to cancel next Monday’s Committee of the Whole session.  Renner doesn’t understand that […]

Remember that budget meeting?

By:  Diane Benjamin On December 20th, during the day and at the BCPA, the City of Bloomington held a budget meeting.  The camera angle didn’t allow the charts on the wall to be seen, but a person who was there sent me some of them. If you forgot this meeting – see this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/22/budget-meeting-the-video/ The […]

Budget meeting – the video

By:  Diane Benjamin The video of the December 20th budget meeting at the BCPA has been posted.  The camera angle does not allow viewers to see the data the crowd got to see. One thing is clear:  Council members like Scott Black believe government is the answer to every problem, they just need to spend […]

Why are Bloomington salaries $6,196,593 higher?

By:  Diane Benjamin Since the biggest expense the City of Bloomington has is employees, I took a look at the employees in 2012 and four years later – 2016. The payroll was $6,196,593 higher in 2016 than 2012.  But why? Total compensation per year is on the City website:    http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-170 2017 is really for the […]

BRICK streets + parking

By:  Diane Benjamin Couple more things on tonight’s agenda: 1) The parking ordinance downtown will be modified to keep City employees from just moving their car every couple of hours in the Government Center lot so they get free parking. 2) A brand new Brick Street Master plan will be adopted including: The next Council […]

Downtown Loons

By:  Diane Benjamin TIF districts are like Greek to most citizens.  If you don’t understand them, government will continue to redistribute money and call it Economic Development. TIF’s made easy:  Government sets a Tax Increment Finance area.  All government bodies in the area have to agree to forgo tax increases due to increasing property values.  […]

Guest Letter to the Council and Mayor

Dear Council Members and Mayor, If you are not able to answer the below questions, please refer me to the correct staff members. On August 28, 2017 members of the Bloomington City Council (or at least 5 of you) voted to turn the Downtown Business Association into a government entity. The DBA was given $850K […]