What is Bloomington paying tonight?

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=21875 The BCPA has a show tomorrow night, they NEVER pay this much for an artist: https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/BLOM/?cts_legacy_app All the colored dots are tickets still available, the cheapest seats are $49, they go up to $64: Jamie Mathy went to a conference in Denver.  Room rates are normally $160-$180. Billy Tyus has a […]

More BCPA losses

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1702 Two more reports have appeared from March, three are from April. These two shows made money: These three shows lost money, the losses wiped out the profits above.  Note the number of tickets sold: Why does this continue? Because the City thinks you need entertained.  The cost is immaterial.  It’s “Quality […]

Who’s on First?

By:  Diane Benjamin Nothing is more frustrating than government employees who can’t get their story straight. Here’s another example: See PDF page 4 of the February City Manger’s report:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=21477 According to the guy in charge, the BCPA held 6 events in February. How many do we have event reports for? http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1702 TWO! Where are […]

125 Premium Red Roses!

By:  Diane Benjamin Sam’s Club payments show up frequently on Bloomington’s Bills and Payroll.  I filed a FOIA request for receipts on this one: This was the first response:  Sam’s Club invoice for FOIA 19-04-0403_Redacted The invoices show purchases of lots of food.  By looking up the person who placed the order, I can see […]

Illinois is #1

By:  Diane Benjamin WalletHub published a study of State taxation in March.  WallettHub is Tari Renner’s favorite study to quote since in the past they have rated Bloomington as a great place to live.  Those days should be over. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/2416/#complete-rankings Including the District of Columbia, Illinois ranks #1 with highest tax burden! “Taxpayers in the […]

March losses at the BCPA

By:  Diane Benjamin Did the BCPA have only held 3 events during March?   Only 3 reports are listed on the City website.  All three lost money and had dismal attendance:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1702 Other events took place according to the event calendar:  http://www.artsblooming.org/events/calendar?cury=2019&curm=3&curd=31&curview=month Zero transparency for those. The losses above do not include salaries and other operating […]

Bloomington Council tonight including SPIKING

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=21131 The BCPA hasn’t posted an event report since my last FOIA.  Transparency isn’t part of their game! Most artist fees are $5000 or less, not this one.  Do I really need to FOIA every report to get them on the website? Looks like throwing parties for themselves.  […]

It a Secret! BCPA-Creativity Center

By:  Diane Benjamin Operations of the BCPA and the Creativity Center are looking a lot like a private club for the well-connected.  Zero transparency existed with shows until I FOIA’d the recaps, all of them have not been posted.  The last event report posted is from November.  Obviously unless I FOIA the information nobody will […]

BCPA reports mirror Coliseum

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request for all the event reports missing from the BCPA site.  I actually found this earlier Friday, the FOIA denying my request was finally received at 4:45 pm Friday.  It’s pretty clear why event reports weren’t on the website. http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1702 I recapped the events for you: How can […]

What no one in Bloomington talks about

By:  Diane Benjamin The first thing that is NEVER discussed is what government should do verses what they are doing.  Budgeting requires making choices, Bloomington has decided roads aren’t that important.  What they want it more important.  You will probably be saddled with some type of water park and a sports complex this year. Let’s […]

BCPA: You deserve to know

By:  Diane Benjamin It wasn’t a smart move by the City of Bloomington to pretend to deny my FOIA request for the event recap of the Naked Magicians show because it was posted on the website. As I reported, no event reports between February 2018 and November 2018 have been posted – just the one […]

The BCPA’s (lack of) Transparency

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request for a recap of the Naked Magicians Show held at the BCPA.  My request was denied because the report is on-line, I was directed there instead. Here’s where it gets funny for me, likely tragic for Bloomington taxpayers. http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1555 These are the only shows listed, no event […]

The budgeted BCPA loss and more

By:  Diane Benjamin I can see why the finance documents aren’t included in the packet on the Bloomington Council nights where the monthly recap is presented.  I’m sure it’s much more fun to claim everything is fine than show the proof.  See what was reported Monday night here:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20321 When they talk about Sales Tax […]

Subsidized porn

By:  Diane Benjamin The BCPA was created for the local well off folks.  The entire City is taxed to subsidize entertainment for people with above average wealth. Remember these guys:     https://blnnews.com/2018/09/26/one-you-must-see-to-believe/ Ticket prices: How many people can afford this show? Evidently not many – there are still a lot of seats available:   https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/BLOM/?cts_legacy_app Maybe […]

Why did Bloomington write a check to Shirk Foundation?

By:  Diane Benjamin On September 20th I reported a check labeled “refund” written to the Shirk Foundation for $75,000.   https://blnnews.com/2018/09/20/gleason-is-going/ The City stalled my FOIA, I finally received an answer late Friday. In 2009 the Shirk Foundation made a donation to the BCPA for the Creativity Center. Since nothing is happening there, except the City […]

BCPA doesn’t exist to even break even

By:  Diane Benjamin For a brief time events report were published for BCPA shows.  It was when VenuWorks was filling the management void.  Reports are available for these shows:   http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1555 (Some shows are available from the prior year too, I’m not looking them all up!) 260 people attended Gobsmacked, the show lost $14,570.51 184 people […]

Why was Renner’s cost more than Koos?

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for 7/23/2018  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18360 PCard charge for Tari Renner –  Hotel only, US Conference of Mayors in Boston: Since Tari doesn’t have a PCard, it must have been booked with this card. 3 nights for Chris Koos including two charges at the hotel’s Champion Sports Bar was only $1209.99.    https://blnnews.com/2018/07/13/normal-we-must-entertain-and-more/ […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin YMCA, State Farm, and now Specs Around Town are just some businesses who have or will be leaving downtown Bloomington. City of Bloomington:  Whatever you are doing is causing flight from downtown. Downtown is for bars, restaurants, lawyers, and government.  Until Bloomington quits trying to make downtown something it isn’t, the few businesses […]

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 […]

Council oblivious or just Renner?

By:  Diane Benjamin Documentation for the 7:00 pm meeting is 648 pages:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16030 The 5:00 pm meeting is only 35 pages:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16026 This item is on the agenda for discussion at the 5:00 meeting: Another City employee complete with benefits and pension! Then it gets funny because approval is on the Consent Agenda for the 7:00 […]

How much THEFT can you take?

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15932 Now for the meat of tonight’s Bloomington City Council meeting!  Finally we have arrived at the tax increases. Solid Waste – AGAIN!   PDF page 130 The Council will get a choice – all of them cost you more: Ordinance 1: “High Service Level, High Fee Increases” Ordinance 2: “Medium Service Level, […]

Bills for Monday night

By:  Diane Benjamin Somebody finally got around to posting the Bills and Payroll:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15822 Diane Hauman is now going on the One Voice trip with Renner, Black, and Rasmussen ( https://blnnews.com/2018/01/26/more-government-travel-at-your-expense/) $1600 x 4 = $6,400 to visit the DC swamp instead of demanding in-district meetings with representatives.  That number is before other expenses.   Does […]

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 […]

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 […]

Another City employee!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight Bloomington City Council:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15546 PDF page 55. This item is on the Consent Agenda.  That means it won’t be discussed unless an alderman pulls it. The documentation doesn’t say what this person will do, what the job description is, what the salary will be, or what happens if the “Friends” don’t have […]

Found in the Financial Statements

By:  Diane Benjamin We used to get lots of interesting information in the City Manager’s monthly reports.  The City Manager quit doing them because the reports showed information the City didn’t want you to know – like monthly tax receipts and library traffic. The financial statements the City just got around to releasing from almost […]

Public Comment last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment went over 30 minutes last night.  That set a new precedent for allowing it to go over 30 minutes without a Council vote.  Keep that in mind when Tari doesn’t want to allow all the speakers in the future.  The 30 minute time limit should only apply when someone is […]

Remember When . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Tari had to have a hotel downtown to “benefit the Coliseum”? Remember when he said over and over developers were lining up to get projects started downtown? Today Tari’s Downtown Task Force has the brilliant idea of moving the library and creating a bus transfer station. Neither will be private […]

Hovering on a cliff

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14181 The 2017 year ended for the City of Bloomington last April 30th.  We are most likely MONTHS away from seeing real financial statements, late is what governments do and the private sector would never tolerate. I did find a glimpse into what they will say – see the link above. […]

Since the Council didn’t ask questions . .

By:  Diane Benjamin The council never asks questions.  I wonder if they even look at the documentation! Bills and Payroll from last Monday:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=13099 The Coliseum cost more – architect: Did the City buy tickets for employees?  Feel free to FOIA! Why did the BCPA return so many deposits?     Why does the BCPA […]

WGLT: Your local tax dollars

By:  Diane Benjamin UPDATE to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/01/23/redistributing-your-wealth/ Since WGLT is National Public Radio, your federal tax dollars already fund them.  They aren’t allowed to sell advertising, all they can do is “underwritten by” non-specific ads. That doesn’t keep your local tax dollars from ending up in their pocket though.  I received this information under […]

What Bloomington is paying Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin The agenda for Monday’s meeting was posted on Thursday.  The agenda lists the total to be approved for payment in Bills and Payroll.  Somehow, even though the City knew what the list was, it wasn’t posted until after 4:30 Friday.  Anybody think they are hiding something?  See the list HERE Actually a […]

UPDATE: Seriously? Who is behind this?

Alderman Scott Black is the organizer of this event.  He wants to show all elected officials can work together.  Scott:  the Council has NO history of working together!  Former Alderwoman Judy Stearns was completely ignored when she presented opinions.  Ditto Alderman Kevin Lower.  The Budget Task Force was ignored, so was the the Citizens Summit.  […]

Coliseum: Just THIS year’s costs

By: Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a ridiculous editorial today urging the City to spend spend spend on downtown.  They must not realize with building the Coliseum and covering the losses, rehabbing the BCPA, and with the TIF dollars from the past – Bloomington is probably close to spending $100,000,000.  Don’t forget to add the […]