TIF, Taxes, Talk

By:  Diane Benjamin Random thoughts on last night’s meeting: Congrats to Alderman Lower and Alderman Mwilambwe.  They stood up for citizens.  Public comment was moved to after the presentation against Lower’s wishes, Mwilambwe forced public comment before the Council “voted” to keep the project alive.  Not one speaker supported it.  Funny how none of the […]

Hales confirmed it

By:  Diane Benjamin David Hales confirmed last night the City will be extending the Coliseum Management Contract with the failures managing it now. Revenue is millions away from what citizens were told to expect.  Profits don’t pay any of the bond payments – citizens do with higher Sales Taxes.  Reports from before the Coliseum was […]

Pantagraph reaches a new low

By:  Diane Benjamin On October 31, 2015 the Pantagraph printed a Letter to the Editor critical of Mayor Renner and his plans to use public money to redevelop downtown.  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/opinion/mailbag/downtown-financing-not-for-taxpayers/article_13e845ac-a6b8-5585-b601-426d46a64601.html It is surprising they allowed the letter since many are rejected, but now there is a new twist. All comments to the letter have been […]

Needs or Wants?

By:  Diane Benjamin I was obvious at last Mondays Council meeting that some Aldermen think any project in downtown is better than none. A reader found an interesting Facebook page yesterday promoting what looks like the Bentley plan.  Here’s how the page is selling it: The Viable Downtown Bloomington Development Plan Yesterday at 2:38pm · […]

Nothing on line

By:  Diane Benjamin The only way to know what both developers proposed last night is to watch the video of the meeting.  Nothing was included for either developer in meeting documentation to the Council. The Giebelhausen presentation was vague.  He claims to have 3 hotels interested, but only if they get taxpayer money.  Why invest […]

What do you choose?

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington held a Council work session last night to hear plans for downtown.  David Sage was absent.  Do you have a right to know why your elected representative wasn’t there?   9 people are going to decide the future of Bloomington, if any can’t attend a vital meeting, and you can’t hear […]

Downtown folly

By:  Diane Benjamin This morning Tari was interviewed on WJBC.  Listen here: http://cdn.stationcaster.com/stations/wjbc/media/mpeg/Tari_Renner__Bloomington_mayor-1445262152.mp3 Tari claims he doesn’t know all the details of the presentations to the Council tonight by two developers.  He also claims Bloomington is “on the move” and that’s why developers are interested in downtown. Tari has been proclaiming since he was elected […]

Tari’s downtown obsession

By:  Diane Benjamin I think Tari’s constant focus on downtown comes from sites like this one: “What do baby boomers, families, young professionals and new U.S. immigrants all have in common? They’re driving the reurbanization of America. After decades of flight, cities are becoming the go-to choice of living. Access to amenities—including parks, transportation, restaurants, […]

Confused? So are they!

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Tari wants the Front and Center building torn down so he can get a downtown hotel. Other City departments want the windows and roof fixed. Um.   Haven’t citizens been told over and over and over the City can’t force Huffs to fix the building?  It would take too much time and […]

WGLT, WJBC – anybody listening? Update

The WJBC Renner interview is now posted:  http://cdn.stationcaster.com/stations/wjbc/media/mp3/Tari_Renner__Bloomington_mayor__6_10_15-1433957937.mp3 The exact words Tari used to describe IPI were: they have an ideological agenda.  He switched the conversation to tax rates when he learned he was wrong.  He claimed Illinois has comparable taxes to surrounding states.  Why is everybody leaving Illinois? Other items of note: Tari has massive interest from […]

Nothing will stop Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Most council meetings are scripted.  The Mayor and City Manager take their favorite aldermen to lunch at your expense and brief them on how to vote.  If the ONLY conservative on the council, Kevin Lower, says anything – nobody but citizens care.  Expect the next 2 years to be filled with 8-1 votes. Besides Public Comment being part […]

The Huffs bailout – with your money

By:  Diane Benjamin The Ensenberger building is held by the Huffs as Ensenberger Building Corp.  They own other properties under Front N Center and Consolidated Properties Inc.  To view the County Recorder of Deeds website you have to apply for access, so I will just give some highlights: No Ensenberger condo sales are listed since 2013, the only activity […]

Front & Center

By:  Diane Benjamin The City had no problem with massive legal fees fighting the arbitrators ruling on Scott Oglesby. The City had no problem with big legal fees to put Paradigm together before the citizens knew Bloomington was even involved. The City has no problem sending $50,000-$60,000 a month to the Springfield law firm for […]

The Rennerwitz show

By:  Diane Benjamin Judy Markowitz will always be known as the mayor who inflicted Bloomington taxpayers with the Coliseum. Tari’s plan for his shrine can be seen here:   http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=531 The City wants to pay $8.2 Million for blank land after Giebelhausen demolishes historic buildings.  The Front and Center building is not in any danger of falling down, according to […]

Definition: Public Servant

By:  Diane Benjamin Two schools of thought are in play locally: 1)  Government exists to create Quality of Life – no specific definition 2)  Government exists to provide essential services citizens can not provide for themselves – police, fire, streets, sewers etc Normal switched to option 1 when Koos was elected.  Everything that happens there […]

Did you know ?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington has been trying to revive downtown since at least the 80’s.  I don’t know when this program started, but I saw references on-line to loans being made through this program in 1982. Remember Chinatown nightclub and later the Xi Do restaurant (Bou Chu)?  Chu borrowed $200,000 and received […]

Let’s get Tari!

By:  Diane Benjamin Here is a summary of the downtown Bloomington deal: Remember the Life commercial – two brothers want their little brother to try it first? “Let’s get Mikey” Substitute Tari: Much more in the coming days!

Downtown bailout Update!

Read the Comments By:  Diane Benjamin Meryl Huff received TIF money to develop the Ensenberger building, how many condo’s have been sold?  The Front and Center building was taken as collateral by the City and 2.2 Million was loaned to Huff.  Under Steve Stockton the loan was forgiven!  Poof!  2.2 Million gone.  Now the City […]

When government wins, you lose

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner had a motion ready via Alderman Schmidt to move Public Comment to after the presentation last night by Giebelhausen. Mayor Transparency:  Information should have been posted before the meeting so citizens could review it.  Instead YOU chose to shut down citizens by presenting information without allowing citizens time to process it.  Can we expect […]

Giebelhausen: Crony capitalism

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight the Bloomington City Council will hear from a developer who wants to acquire buildings downtown, tear them down, and then sell the blank canvas to the City.  The price will be revealed tonight.  Assume it’s high or it would have been made public before tonight.  The agenda still says “possible vote”, […]

The Buragas problem

By:  Diane Benjamin It is no accident that a special meeting was called for the City of Bloomington days after the new Council member took the oath of office and the others were sworn in.  Renner has been possessed with downtown since being elected. The new Alderman has a problem though.  Amelia Buragas’s father, David Dorris, is a property owner downtown.  […]

Call Hollywood!

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Bloomington bought new garbage trucks and cans?  Why doesn’t the City know how much money they are saving by automating?  How many MILLIONS did that cost, evidently the Council didn’t ask how much would be saved before spending the money and now the City doesn’t know if they are saving money. […]

Hauman – Renner’s pick

By:  Diane Benjamin I wonder if Tari Renner wrote the campaign materials his picks are using for the Bloomington City Council:  Hauman, Painter, Buragas!  They all say pretty much the same thing. Luckily 2 of the 3 have a voting history on the Council.  Yesterday I wrote about Joni Painter’s campaign materials and her voting […]

Bloomington 1971

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader sent me this picture of Bloomington in 1971.  It clearly shows where the private sector thinks money should be! Mayors for decades have been trying to make downtown Bloomington a destination – using YOUR tax money.  You got a lot of debt and a Coliseum eating a hole in the […]

I know what Bloomington tried to hide!

Correction:  https://blnnews.com/2015/02/09/sorry-i-know-what-it-is-now/     By:  Diane Benjamin VERY Transparent Mayor.  You must be afraid to have your potted plants vote in public right before an election!  All the citizens surveys said NEEDS before WANTS.  You want spending downtown regardless of how bad the streets and sewers are.  What the citizens say is immaterial!  All your […]

Decatur rebuilt their downtown! Cost here

By:  Diane Benjamin Decatur taxpayers are outraged at the money their City Council spent making downtown a walk-able, livable sustainable space.  They built it and NOBODY came.  Sound familiar? While reading, keep in mind:  The lighting plan for downtown Bloomington is $8.5 Million.  Taxpayers already paid $74, 670 for the study. Downtown Decatur died decades […]

Fly on the Wall – downtown rumors

Interesting things can be overheard while buzzing around. How do you feel about soccer and volleyball fields in downtown?  They can hold tournaments thus providing people to stay in the new hotel! I hear the old warehouse area is being looked at.  No word on who is going to pay for it, take a guess. […]

Renner’s Revitalization

by:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday Mayor Renner penned a Guest Commentary in the Pantagraph.  Unlike the paper’s editorials, he at least signed his name. His first sentence on the revitalization of downtown says volumes:  “… has the potential to boost our economic growth for generations to come”. Potential?  Renner then quotes a Pantagraph editorial: “Before you […]

Tari: The Huffington Post doesn’t agree!

by:  Diane Benjamin The professor has been trying to convince citizens for a year to invest a lot of money downtown because downtown is the future.  Tari claims millennials are dying to live downtown.  He claims strip malls are dead, just trust him, he is smart. Looks like the facts differ Tari. Here’s an article, […]

How much abuse are you going to take Bloomington?

by:  Diane Benjamin The TAXPAYERS of Bloomington have around $4,000,000 invested in a Fire Station on the west side that has NEVER been used.  It leaks.  The station is fully outfitted, complete with a kitchen.  It is being left to decay because the City of Bloomington can’t afford to staff it. The TAXPAYERS of Bloomington […]

Downtown Bloomington: A FORMER business owner

by:  Diane Benjamin This morning I had a conversation with John Shank, owner of the  Chocolatier.  His business has moved out of downtown Bloomington, but he still lives there.  John has been asking the City to control the weekend drinking for many years, his business has been vandalized and his car was a victim of […]

Renner’s priorities – Are they yours?

by:  Diane Benjamin It’s been obvious since Mayor Renner was elected that his focus is Downtown.  He really believes the future of Bloomington is Downtown, he wants to copy what Chris Koos did in Normal.  He actually told me there is a waiting list of people who want to live downtown.  After calling a few […]

Bloomington: Renner and Hales are spending YOUR money again UPDATE

UPDATE: Mayor Renner just pulled this discussion off the agenda! Correction:  An addendum  changed the amount to $202,865.  Total spent on studies since November is now over $300,000! by:  Diane Benjamin At the January 27th City Council meeting, this will be on the agenda: Comprehensive Plan Proposed Scope of Work by Houseal Lavigne Associates for Professional […]