Normal’s Debt and the Cost

By: Diane Benjamin If you still haven’t played with the Local Government Reporting on the Illinois Comptroller’s website, do it now! This is the link to Normal’s reported debt: At the beginning of FY 2020 total debt was: $88,090,580 At the end of FY 2020 total debt was: $85,752,874 At the end of FY […]

Normal budget – in short

By: Diane Benjamin If you want to watch the almost 7 hour budget session you can do so below. You won’t be able to see the slides discussed by the Finance Director because they aren’t on the video. You have to see those here:—Jan-2022-Budget-Worksession Get your two devices ready, get popcorn, and then fall […]

Kathleen Lorenz: Facts do matter

By: Diane Benjamin Problem identified: Kathleen’s facts are right, Stan Nord’s aren’t. Did Kathleen read this story? Her facts were WAY OFF! Kathy didn’t do any better in an interview with Cities 92.9. She was there to counter an interview Stan Nord did previously. You can listen to it here: The first topic […]

More on Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin This information is from the budget: I don’t know why the budgeted revenue was decreased for this year, but Normal still plans to collect a lot of money for licenses, fines, fees, and permits.  Maybe it’s down because little development is happening creating a need for permits.  PDF page 27. This […]

How much debt is Decatur in?

By:  Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story: How much does a pretty downtown cost? I find it hilarious that RC McBride is running radio ads asking for your vote claiming they have paid off $10 million of debt. They may have, but he doesn’t mention how much debt they still have left to pay.  […]

Debt: Normal vrs Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin As of 3/31/18 Normal had total debt of $89,823,286.  $88,125,000 won’t be paid off until 2041.  Interest rates range from 2.00% to 6.30%. Source As of 4/30/18 Bloomington had total debt of $242,010,034.  $57,095,000 won’t be paid off until 2035.  The interest rates aren’t listed.  $173,646,119 is liabilities for pensions and associated […]

Where does the Pantagraph get their numbers?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph ran this cute story about Normal on Tuesday.  Quote from the article: Question: Does Normal not know how much debt they are in, or is the Pantagraph making up numbers? Town of Normal – Comptroller This is the debt reported as of March 31, 2018 to the Illinois Comptroller’s […]

Like Debt?

By:  Diane Benjamin See this story from December 2, 2017 Bond payments look like they are made twice a year. On the agenda for Monday night:  Interest payments of $1,541,388.73 In December the interest payments totaled $1,628,761.92 That’s a decrease of $87,373.19 Total debt is decreasing slowly – it was $92,320,992 at […]

How bad are Normal’s finances?

By: Diane Benjamin What we do know: The freshman class this year at ISU was down 9.3% State Farm has cut employees and is cutting more Normal has a budget deficit (local media reports) The Normal Library has decided not to build new – the library WAS the centerpiece of Uptown 2.0  (local […]

Normal: Found in the financial statements

By:  Diane Benjamin If the Comptroller’s office ever does their job, comprehensive TIF reports will be available.  So far they don’t have the software completed to allow entry of information.  Information from 3/13/17 for Normal and 4/30/17 for Bloomington isn’t complete. Normal’s 3/31/17 financial statements: PDF page 30: The Uptown TIF Fund reported a […]

Normal Tossing Money (Yours!)

By: Diane Benjamin Normal bills for Monday night:  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: 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 […]

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: Normal Total Budget:  $107,133,177 PDF Page 15 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 4/30/17 information […]

Town of Normal Debt

By:  Diane Benjamin As of 3/31/17 PDF page 41: 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 […]

Bloomington Debt

By: Diane Benjamin A reader asked me yesterday what the debt for the City of Bloomington looks like since Tari Renner became mayor.  Another reader did the research for me.  Below are two tables he sent to me: Source: PDF page 36 . Source:  PDF page 33 The biggest difference between the two […]

WOW! YEAR-OLD financial statements

By: Diane Benjamin Bloomington finally released the financial statements for April 30, 2016. The TIF report still hasn’t been released and neither has a separate audited statement on the Coliseum. Maybe another year? Two? At this point, what difference does it make? It’s much easier to read the information from the Comptroller’s site. Total Full […]

Oops! Allin Township Fire

By:  Diane Benjamin From the Illinois Comptroller website: Allin At a Glance In 2016 they borrowed $103,309 and paid back $39,131 In 2015 they borrowed $45,000 and paid back $10,000 Source: 2015 In 2014 they borrowed $90,000 and paid back $68,000. Source: 2014 Anybody see a problem? (These are numbers Allin Township gave the Comptroller!) […]

Portillo, Town – Monday night

By:  Diane Benjamin See the packet for the Town of Normal Council meeting Monday night here: Portillo Summary: The project is being done by a developer – Bloomington Landmark Development Inc Despite the name, this company has a Chicago agent and address:  CT CORPORATION SYSTEM Normal is rebating Sales taxes of $1,825,000 PLUS interest […]

Normal FORGOT!

By:  Diane Benjamin I reported in September Normal’s funding of Police and Fire pensions was dismal: While Chris Koos was busy creating his vision for “Uptown”, he forgot the Town’s other needs.  One of those is funding pensions for the essential personnel citizens really want – Police and Fire.  Somehow the employees on IMRF […]

Normal: QUIT sleeping!

By:  Diane Benjamin Chris Koos CAN’T stop spending your money.  A new library is on the way, not for books – he’s creating a social and fun club and expecting all of you to participate.  Think Uptown events.  Government controls your life – you aren’t allowed to make independent decisions because he is abolishing capitalism.  […]

Normal’s DEBT!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night Normal voted to waste more taxpayer money on consultants.  They already know they want an expensive underpass, but they are spending $1.4 million+ on another study anyway. As of March 31, 2016: From the link above – click View Data – Indebtedness 2014 Total Debt:  $86,788,630 2015 Total Debt:  […]

Normal: Sleeping into Slavery

By:  Diane Benjamin Some regimes hold their populations hostage at gun point, other do it with debt.  Normal is using debt for your entertainment. The Town must not appreciate their public safety personnel.  If you missed it, police and fire pensions are seriously underfunded while the staff has plenty of room to collect their retirements.  […]

Tonight’s debt explosion

By:  Diane Benjamin The only Regular Agenda item tonight for the Bloomington City Council is the race to debt.  (Capital Improvement Plan) For decades essential spending on roads, sewers, pensions, and maintenance have been neglected for “Quality of Life” items. Now, in an obvious election year proposal, the Council will debate borrowing money to fix […]

Bloomington Debt – Corrected

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is one of the debt tables I misinterpreted.  Government accounting is different from the private sector.  To me, as a CPA, listing a payment from 2020-2024 means that payment will be made for 5 years.  To government, that amount is the total.  This table is from the CAFR – the financial […]

Coliseum BLEEDING Bloomington taxpayers

by:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington issued a Press Release stating the Coliseum has an Operating Loss for the first 6 months of the fiscal year of $300,848.  The great news is they expected $43,603 more!  Remember, the building isn’t paid for.  that’s another $2,000,000 a year. Does Mayor Renner or the rubber stamp […]

HUD doesn’t pay it’s bills in McLean County

by:  Diane Benjamin The second installment of Real Estate Taxes was due in September, so don’t blame the shutdown. McLean County has 10 tax delinquent properties in McLean County where the bill is sent to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  So much for that AAA credit rating.  The bills total $23,373.87. Luckily, the […]

Debt WILL destroy the country

by:  Diane Benjamin Below is the amount of interest paid per year by the federal government-per the Treasury Department website: Debt figures are inflation adjusted: The Interest Rate paid (APR) was estimated based on the amount paid and total debt.          Interest paid         Total Debt     […]

More on Thompson Prison

by Diane Benjamin Conveniently, now that the Feds own an empty prison, Sen. Barbara Boxer is lamenting the lack of space in current Federal prisons to house the Gitmo detainees.  Even though there is currently a law against bringing the prisoners here, a second Obama administration will surely turn Illinois into Gitmo north. Source: That isn’t […]

IL: State’s debt equals $55K for every private-sector worker, report says

By Jayette Bolinski | Illinois Watchdog SPRINGFIELD — Every private-sector employee in Illinois would have to pony up more than $55,000 each to pay for all of the state’s accrued debt, according to a new analysis. Illinois has $271.1 billion worth of debt, among the worst states in terms of total debt, according to a report […]

Election 2012 – No brainer!

Facts alone are enough to decide the election.  The polls are meaningless, the American people aren’t stupid enough to fall for them. Gas Prices:  1.84 when Obama took office – hovering around twice that now.  Fill up once a week?  That’s is at least $40 a week x 52 – $2,080 per year – more than 1 […]

Town of Normal-what’s NOT reported

by Diane Benjamin Currently the Town of Normal is not in trouble because of the massive spending to create Uptown.  They have a broad source of funding, and taxes were raised to pay for it.  Unlike Bloomington’s investment in the Coliseum that CAN’T pay for itself, it’s easier to spread the Uptown cost over the […]

What is the Role of LOCAL Government?

Let’s talk local government.  What is their job, what is their responsibility to citizens? Bloomington thought you needed entertainment, so you got the Coliseum and the BCPA, neither has made a profit or even broken even.  They both need YOUR TAX DOLLARS. Normal thought you needed a new Uptown and they aren’t done building and […]

“Visioning” for Agenda 21 and YOUR Money

The City of Bloomington is “Visioning” – so what exactly is it? The Town of Normal “Visioned” the Uptown project – now the formerly sleepy town is BURIED in DEBT.  Of course they have a plan to pay for it!  Raise taxes – they already have.  See this previous post: A large part of […]

What Hath Government Wrought?

Biggest problems facing the country: (in no particular order) massive debt illegal immigration high unemployment high energy prices housing crisis healthcare costs What do they all have in common? Government CAUSED them! massive debt – obvious, we are adding over $1 Trillion of debt a year illegal immigration – Federal government has failed it’s duty […]