Normal and the MICA Fleece

By: Diane Benjamin Remember this story? MICA is Municipal Insurance Cooperative Agency. Normal’s Finance Director Andrew Huhn is on the Executive Committee. Normal is also doing their accounting while not bidding insurance purchased through them. The MICA website at best is lame, it doesn’t say if MICA is a non-profit or a corporation: […]

Need accounting services? Hire the Town of Normal!

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when CIRBN employees were considered Town of Normal employees with all the same benefits? When “professional staff” is your best buddy, all kinds of perks are available! Another “arrangement” you are supposed to ignore: This one involves the Town purchasing insurance from MICA – no bid contract. Review this story […]

Can you tell elections are coming? CIRBN!

By: Diane Benjamin I’ve questioned for YEARS why CIRBN employees are considered Town of Normal employees entitled to all the benefits every other employee has. CIRBN is a direct competitor to other internet providers who don’t have that luxury. The Town of Normal has subsidized CIRBN by using their service and paying them to run […]

CIRBN and the Town of Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The latest tax return from CIRBN available is from 2017.  They file as a non-profit.  This is a summary: The Town of Normal Comprehensive Plan done by the McLean County Regional Planning Commission in 2017 mentions CIRBN 10 times. PDF page 9 shows CIRBN as a “positive contributor” and a […]

Normal’s Long Nightmare is almost over, but first there is Monday:

By:  Diane Benjamin Marc Tiritilli has announced he is running again for mayor.  The local media apparently is ignoring it, Peoria isn’t: If only twelve more people had voted for Marc three years ago the citizen’s fleece and Koos ignoring the will of the people would already be over. Obviously the current mayor is […]

Corruption in Normal?

By:  Diane Benjamin Would anybody be surprised if there was?  We do live in Illinois after all! WGLT did a story yesterday about Stan Nord’s property on W. College.  First you need to know this: Below are payments to WGLT from Normal taxpayers while one of WGLT’s employees was a trustee:  (RC McBride) Why did […]

Normal – Tuesday night

By: Diane Benjamin The Council meeting will be Tuesday since Monday is Martin Luther King Day.   Source: A few choice payments: Normal needs a new company doing video.  The recent problems should be strike THREE. The Mayor still has pay to attend conferences.  He needs to explain how the membership benefits taxpayers.  If […]

Ever heard government programs never die? Thank Koos

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal held a 9 1/2 hour budget meeting yesterday.  What it amounted to was a conga line of department heads who already had their budgets done. If you thought citizen comments would shape the budget, you are wrong. The budget was obviously already done, the citizen summit comments might […]

Koos: Elections don’t matter in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment: 6:15 Doug Fansler asks why the Town can find $25,000 off budget but couldn’t find the $96,000 to keep from raising property taxes – Pam answered it later.  The $25,000 will be taken from stockpiled savings, the $96,000 is next year’s property taxes. 7:30:  Karl Sila talked about Wild Country […]

CIRBN continues – questions aren’t allowed + Normal tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin The Wild Country lease will automatically renew in January, the operators just pay taxes, maintenance, and insurance.  Taxpayers make nothing.  No council vote required. I haven’t seen anything saying the sweet deal Terri Ryburn got for the Pine St gas station ever has to be renewed either. There are more – […]

Talking Points: Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The sales tax plan for the Fiala brothers created some havoc for some of the Trustees.  The citizens of Normal are really tired of the Town’s giveaways, especially to their “friends”. The citizens remember all the properties given away to create Uptown.  Nobody would have built there without them.  The citizens see […]

Pam Reece is aggravated with Stan!

By:  Diane Benjamin Pam Reece can’t understand why Stan Nord is questioning the actions of past Councils.  If Pam can’t understand why Stan was elected, she had an opportunity handed to her: Stan has raised questions about a number of issues.  Some of them included Town owned properties being leased for much less than market […]

CIRBN back during discussion

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday night the Omnibus Agenda, that would have sailed through the Council without discussion before Stan Nord and Karyn Smith were elected, was moved to the end of the meeting.  Chris Koos didn’t stick around for the discussion, he claimed he had to get up early to travel somewhere to see his […]

Normal: Another thing found in FOIA – CIRBN

By:  Diane Benjamin CIRBN is registered with Secretary of State as an LLC – Limited Liability Corporation. They call themselves a Public Utility and claimed tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3). In 2017 they had an operating loss of $778,891 but claim to have assets of  $11,907,431. This is CIRBN in short: The Obama […]

Normal Council tonight + more Stan Nord

By:  Diane Benjamin This paragraph is in the minutes to be approved at Monday night’s meeting.  They reflect part of the Connect Transit discussion from the prior meeting.  If you remember, Stan Nord wanted some accountability for the money Normal pays them. Did you know that once an item is in the budget it […]

Is Normal handing out a cheap lease?

By:  Diane Benjamin This item is on the consent agenda, meaning unless it gets pulled there won’t be any discussion: This is the space the engineering department used before moving to the space in 1 Uptown Circle which costs the Town $35,248.77 a month now (See PDF page 10).  Worse, the first floor […]

CIRBN: Another government waste?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN)  is part a project the State of Illinois applied for with the Federal government.  Illinois State University ended up with part of the grant which led to establishing CIRBN LLC.  Since CIRBN files non-profit tax returns, they should be incorporated as a non-profit on the […]

Fazzini correction and more info

By:  Diane Benjamin I need to correct this story: Rob Fazzini signed a contract for the City of Bloomington dated 3/10/16.  He was not an alderman when he signed it.  He was also not authorized by the City Council to sign anything on behalf of the City of Bloomington.  All other contracts were signed by […]

No Discussion Spending

By:  Diane Benjamin City Council Monday night: Remember the Police Review Board the local activist wanted?  (Public Safety Community Relations Board) I understood this Board was created so after citizens exhausted all other avenues within the police department, they would have another place to go with complaints about the police.  This Board has no […]

CIRBN – So who is paying the bills?

by:  Diane Benjamin The Feds got the brilliant idea to fund expansion of broadband service.  Hence CIRBN was born, but don’t plan on using it unless you are part of government, a schools, or other non-profit organization.  The service isn’t offered to individuals. In December the Normal City Council approved an agreement to assist them […]