Tari’s Downtown Task Force

By:  Diane Benjamin The Budget Task Force was ignored, so I have no idea why Tari is organizing another task force for downtown. More interesting is who he appointed: Justin Boyd – Tari’s campaign chairman Tricia Stiller – head of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) that was supposed to be self-sufficient years ago.  They still […]

Food fight: Downtown Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin I find it hilarious that Renner’s claim to economic development victories include two businesses stolen from Normal:  Dick’s Sporting Goods and a Kroger’s Superstore.  Both wanted more room, more room just happen to available in Bloomington – of course tax rebates didn’t hurt.  He still claims Greentop, Hy-vee, and now Ovation theaters.  […]

Bloomington is ANTI-business

By:  Diane Benjamin Governor Rauner ran on a platform of making Illinois business friendly.  He has failed because the Democrat super-majority in Springfield doesn’t care if companies move across the border to save millions of dollars.  They don’t care if Caterpillar leaves the state along with other companies who can’t compete in this high-tax high-regulation […]

OOPS! Explain please Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Thanks to a reader who pointed this out to me!  Around 1/3 of my stories are tips from readers, I REALLY appreciate it. FY 2016 Adopted Budget Book 1-Budget Overview & General Fundd The below is from Book One Budget Document on the City Website:  (including the spelling)  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=8220 Note it’s 2016 […]

Renner wants to abolish Video Gaming?

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner was on WJBC this morning:  https://audioboom.com/boos/4550788-tari-renner-bloomington-mayor-5-11-16?t=0 Update: I think the interview has been moved – try this link:  https://audioboom.com/boos/4551685-tari-renner-bloomington-mayor-5-11-16?t=0 He REALLY hates video gaming because the machine owners are making way too much money.  He actually mentioned a guy who told him he invested $1 million in his business, Renner calculated […]

Renner: No tax dollars

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was quoted in today’s paper:  “No tax dollars that we’re currently getting will go to this project”. Judy Markowitz said the same thing about the Coliseum.  She hired consultants – they were WAY OFF projections:  https://blnnews.com/2016/02/11/the-tale-of-the-coliseum-tari-a-hotel/ Tari, please explain where the money to pay SB Friedman to consult came from?  […]

Media setting you up

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a long history of “floating” ideas fed to them from local government.  It’s always the first step in making happen what government wants to happen.  Watchdogs they aren’t.  The last example was “sharing sales tax” – first mentioned in the paper and expanded since. Sunday more ideas were floated […]

Remember “downtown won’t cost . . .”

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Renner has claimed many times downtown development won’t cost taxpayers a cent up front.  Monday the consultant gets a check however.  See the 3/28/2016 Bills and Payroll http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 It isn’t a cent – it’s $41,625.75 Page 91: More Payments: $25,000 to Chicago Title for the land purchased on Main Street earlier […]

Becoming Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Jeff Giebelhausen finally got around to registering the LLC name he’s been using to sell his Bloomington plans under:  http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController On the agenda for Monday night:   Below is what will be required under the Resolution:    The plans include tons of staff time.  Just like Fazzini’s jet fuel garbage plans, it […]

Reports from the Giebelhausen event

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve talked to 3 people who attended the Giebelhausen event last night.  Here’s the summary: Not many people attended Opposition far out-numbered supporters No new facts were presented Giebelhausen dreamed of more than one hotel downtown Nothing is going to happen without taxpayers being at risk Profit-sharing is the way he is […]

Legal & Giebelhausen

By: Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for 2/22/16:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535   Another $57,721.33 sent to Springfield for Legal! How much of that is work on a downtown hotel? How much more will the City rack up at your expense? Yes, Giebelhausen’s proposal is costing you money. Speaking of Giebelhausen, he wants to change East Peoria’s […]

Giebelhausen: REVENUE sharing

By:  Diane Benjamin This document was handed to the Council last Tuesday night.  It has since been posted for the public:  Giebelhausen-additional information A few things struck me as strange.  The words Revenue Sharing are used when what is really meant is Cost Sharing. Yes, the City will see increased revenues if the project is […]

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 […]


By:  Diane Benjamin David Hales is bemoaning taking $1.4 million from the General Fund to cover services because the fees charged aren’t high enough to cover the costs. News Flash:  You weren’t fooling anybody when you hired yet another consultant to exam the City’s fees! $1,400,000 The General Fund is $94,553,780.  That $1.4 mil is […]

Progressive Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin I’m sure you’ve seen Bloomington’s symbol: What the symbol means is listed on the City website and in the presentation for Tuesday night.  It isn’t new, no Tari didn’t change or create the definition: According to dictionary.com:  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/progressive 1)  Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to […]

The tale of the Coliseum, Tari, & a hotel

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve been reading Pantagraph reports this morning from 2000-2004 pertaining to the Coliseum.  If you have a Bloomington library card, you can access ProQuest on-line and read them yourself.  Search “Sports arena downtown Bloomington”.  Unless you are signed into the library system, the Watchtower links below will not work. Yes, there was […]

Remember Renner’s Boutique downtown hotel?

By:  Diane Benjamin Waukesha Wisconsin has one of their own!  See this post from earlier today:  http://blnnews.com/2015/10/05/weekend-in-wisconsin/ Guess what? Clarke Hotel in Waukesha faces foreclosure suit A boutique hotel in downtown Waukesha that received $1.5 million in city financing is facing a foreclosure suit. The owners of the 22-room Clarke Hotel, 314 W. Main St., […]

The Fox is raiding the hen house

By:  Diane Benjamin A vote on the Giebelhausen downtown redevelopment deal could be as early as June 18th.  Renner’s folly for a downtown hotel makes this project dangerous for the future of Bloomington.  Citizens said no public money, so Tari is borrowing it instead.  Does anybody trust their government?  Citizens said NO Coliseum, they did it anyway.  […]

Chris Koos is now running Bloomington!

By:  Diane Benjamin Why should Bloomington and Normal not merge into one city? Since Normal already has offices nicer than most corporations, Uptown would be the new center of government.  Citizens could save a ton of money on overhead and administration salaries.  Koos is already running Bloomington anyway, so let the savings begin. A hotel downtown didn’t wait for a […]

TIF Districts hurt schools!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal has FOUR TIF districts as of 2011: (the latest info on the comptroller’s website) http://www.comptrollerconnect.ioc.state.il.us/Office/LocalGovt/ViewTIFReports/DisplayTIFRpt.cfm?CFY=2011&BetaSel=N The City of Bloomington has TWO as of 2011 and wants another one to fund a downtown hotel: http://www.comptrollerconnect.ioc.state.il.us/Office/LocalGovt/ViewTIFReports/DisplayTIFRpt.cfm?CFY=2011&BetaSel=B Why isn’t the information listed more current than 2011?  Maybe government doesn’t want you […]

TIF districts explained

By:  Diane Benjamin The City issued the following explanation of TIF districts with the budget.  See Book 2 – page 85  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8223 A Downtown TIF District was formed in 1986. A TIF (Tax Increment Funding) District receives the incremental property tax revenue for properties located within the TIF district boundaries. The incremental difference is the […]

Glaring error OR the Future?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington owns many buildings that are deteriorating because maintenance is deferred.  The can’t afford what they have now.  Properties like the old Coachman Hotel could have been sold, but the City didn’t like the offer. The following is listed under accomplishments in the Capital Improvements Fund – Book 2, […]

Government picking winners and losers: hotel

by:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Transparency Renner has no clue how capitalism works.  He prefers the crony kind.  Businesses he wants to exist will, the others can survive on their own, or just die. Renner wants a downtown hotel.  He thinks people will want to rent rooms in a downtown that has to be power-washed every […]

Hotel: What you aren’t suppose to remember

by:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington taxpayers already spent $2.2 Million on the Front and Center building being proposed for a downtown hotel! Mayors back to at least Judy Markowitz have been driven to redevelop downtown.  The Front and Center building fiasco is attributed to Steve Stockton.  It started with the Ensenberger Building.  Merle Huff bought it in […]

Enterprise Zones – everything citizens hate!

by:  Diane Benjamin Enterprise Zones:  crony capitalism, no accountability, no transparency, tax breaks for some while everybody else pays. When was the last time government picked a winner?  Think hard, there must be at least one time. I can’t think of one either. Enterprise Zones and TIF districts do create economic development – at your […]

Renner should TERRIFY you Bloomington!

by:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner wants a hotel and conference center in downtown Bloomington.  Period.  Citizens have already paid $30,000 for a study that showed an $18,000,000 gap between what it would cost and what it will be worth.  Renner was not deterred. Last night Renner claimed again that developers are flooding his office for […]

Coliseum, etc: Citizen theft

by:  Diane Benjamin I really hate to keep reminding the City of Bloomington:  The citizens voted NO on the Coliseum, but you built it anyway.  Government is NOT smarter than the people.  Government does NOT create sustainable jobs.  Government is not capable of being financially responsible with YOUR money because they don’t have to. Call […]

Fly on the Wall – Confused

Mayor Renner wants a hotel in downtown Bloomington.  I thought the purpose was to help the Coliseum. But, the hotel feasibility study includes a 20,000 square foot convention center. I thought the Coliseum was the convention center.  How is this going to help the Coliseum? Besides, 150 rooms isn’t going to handle a lot of […]