The entitled show up to shame 

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment last night was loaded with those who think they are entitled to tax dollars.  Yes people have lost jobs and yes paying bills is next to impossible, but that doesn’t make them entitled to anything.  The good socialists showed up en masse to criticize the FIVE Council members who voted […]

What is up with the EDC?

By:  Diane Benjamin EDC is the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.  They get your tax money but are not subject to FOIA.  Bloomington cut their subsidy because of accountability. The President/CEO, Patrick Hoban, spoke at the joint the meeting of Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County held September 30, 2019. On this video at 5:40 Patrick […]

Ah . . Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal Town Council last night: First to speak was Craig Stimpert. (4:27) The topic was pensions funding and the constant raising of property taxes to fund them.  Craig called this Town practice unsustainable.  The Town uses property taxes because they refuse to make pension funding part of the budget.   He called out […]

EDC has a new director

By:  Diane Benjamin How many former Decatur people are going to recruited?  Tim Gleason, Billy Tyus, and now the new director of the Economic Development Council: https://www.bnbiz.org/news/patrick-hoban-chosen-as-new-president-ceo/?fbclid=IwAR1bT5mkeg0vyoW2wiZo07OX0jOUAa65_sTAZcVCPo7UxpPIXiTv1aTt4YM Patrick Hoban gets the job.  At least he didn’t come directly from Decatur: Hoban has served as the economic development manager for the Village of Tinley Park since […]

Bloomington travels – One Voice

By: Diane Benjamin Last year Tari Renner, Scott Black, Steve Rasmussen, and Diana Hauman got the free trip to DC for One Voice. Participants are normally elected officials or the City Manager/Assistant. This year Tari took his good buddy Justin Boyd. It looks like he replaced Amelia Buragas. Justin is the guy who posted the […]

Normal Travels (Again)

By:  Diane Benjamin Meeting docs:   http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/31937 In this story about Bloomington spending:    https://blnnews.com/2019/01/26/bloomington-bills-for-monday/ I listed 4 payments to the EDC for $1600 each.  It looks like Renner, Buragas, Mathy, and Tyus won the One Voice trip this year to Washington DC.  Buragas is leaving the Council April 30th and Tyus is the brand new Assistant […]

More on Normal for Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin The Open Meetings Act REQUIRES approval of minutes within 30 days.  It’s a law, but who follows the law anymore?  On the agenda for Monday is:    http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3138 Somebody can’t count or were they planing to bury what happened?  Yes I filed with the AG and they likely got a letter. The extremely […]

Council Recap

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council only had ONE meeting last night instead of 2 or 3.  It didn’t help them not spend your money, but at least they only contemplated how to shovel out more.  Of course, it was on downtown.  More later. Jamie Mathy did not attend, so Ward 1 had no […]

Your tax dollars at work

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is the group who traveled to see Rivian’s operations in Michigan.  On the couch are John McIntyre (County Board Chair), RJ Scaringe (Rivian), Kimberly Bray (Bloomington Council), and Barry Reilly (District 87).  Standing to the right is Kyle Ham (leaving the EDC at the end of April) and Don Knapp (County […]

UPDATE: Remember the One Voice Air Fare?

I found this on the City website under Staff Responses:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16236 By:  Diane Benjamin Update to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/03/23/bloomington-more-one-voice/ I FOIA’d the receipts to see why the cost was different for Black, Renner, and Rasmussen. Black drove himself to Chicago and flew from there to DC. Rasmussen left on a flight at 6:26 in the morning […]

Bloomington: More One Voice

By:  Diane Benjamin Bill and Payroll for Monday:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16156 One Voice is an annual trip to Washington DC to beg for money.  Instead of meeting with Illinois representatives IN Illinois, taxpayers are forced to pay for this farce. Just for Bloomington – 4 people went to Washington DC.  Each was charged $1600 by Economic Development Council […]

More on Uptown Circle

By:  Diane Benjamin Followup to yesterday’s story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/03/16/hum-uptown-circle/ As reported yesterday, this new building in Uptown has no tenants on the first floor.  The Town of Normal is renting the entire second floor: According to the Pantagraph from 7/4/2016: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/normal-eyes-design-contract-for-office-space/article_9d3ad5b1-f04d-5709-a834-2d10fe6db9eb.html The town will lease 13,780 square feet of office space for 15 years, with renewal options, […]

EDC 2016 Tax Return

By:  Diane Benjamin How did the Economic Development Council lose $298.319 in 2015 and another $326,863 in 2016?  Spending more than they take in! From the 2016 tax return: With losses like their’s, what kind of help did they provide? We now know how much Kyle Ham was being paid in 2016:   PDF page 10 […]

Anybody smell Ham?

By:  Diane Benjamin So yesterday Kyle Ham’s resignation from the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council was announced. Of course he went on the junket to DC, paid by taxpayers:  https://blnnews.com/2018/03/09/your-tax-dollars-at-work/ It looks like him on the far left. The EDC gets their money from government, that would be your taxes.  They are totally unaccountable to you for […]

One Voice – Wasting your money?

By:  Diane Benjamin You get to pay for a bunch of people to gravel in Washington DC for money.  It’s the annual One Voice trip which supposedly shows local officials standing united.  The trip is March 6th to the 8th. The EDC has finally released what they are going to beg for: Maybe we should […]

Monday’s bills – FOIA’s filed!

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for 1/22/2018  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15632 Tari finally filed an expense report – 1st one since his PCard was yanked: _________________________________________ Council and staff weren’t eating at your expense in December.  I wonder what event is 1/27?  There is nothing on the City Calendar.  Buy local?  Ha. _________________________________________ This guy is getting an […]

Knuckleheads

By:  Diane Benjamin Pre Tari Renner the City of Bloomington didn’t have any staff doing economic development.   See the 2012 job titles HERE For the year ended 4/30/12, the Economic Development Council received $65,610.04   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6242 BN Advantage didn’t exist. Was Bloomington better or worse? Post Tari Renner – 2017 The City now has a full time […]

Down 9,000 in seven years

By:  Diane Benjamin WGLT interviewed an economist from the Economic Development Council.  Mike Doherty is the one that reported Bloomington-Normal has lost 9000 jobs in the last 7 years. He claims government has shrunk.  (Not Bloomington!)  He also attributed the decline to State Farm ending consulting contracts and Mitsubishi closing.  Then he blamed my personal favorite:  […]

Did Renner’s mouth kill potential?

By:  Diane Benjamin I received a tip that Tari Renner was under a non-disclosure agreement on the deal he revealed during his Town Hall meeting earlier this week. Renner proclaimed City leaders and the Economic Development Council are talking to a prosthetic limbs manufacturer about a factory here.  He also mentioned the jobs would pay […]

Government creates jobs

By:  Diane Benjamin According to Kyle Ham (Economic Development Council) at last night’s Bloomington Council meeting: McLean County lost 2000 jobs between 2015 and 2016 K-12 schools are down 1100 students in the last 5 years which affects aid from the State New housing starts are down 56% from 2000 to today 8 out of […]

County should Defund the EDC

By:  Diane Benjamin What does the Economic Development Council do? Here’s their website:  https://www.bnbiz.org/ They have dinners and lunches, organize the One Voice trips to DC to beg for federal funds, and soak up a lot of money from both Bloomington and Normal. Last year McLean County budgeted $100,000 for the EDC.  For 2018 they dropped […]

The silence is deafening

By:  Anonymous All over Bloomington-Normal, no one is talking about the worst kept secret. It seems almost everyone knows, but no one is talking. State Farm is planning to downsize, likely before year-end. This is no secret. In fact, it’s echoing throughout the halls of the insurance giant, as well as the local business community […]

Why is BN Advantage a secret group?

By:  Diane Benjamin BN Advantage was formed in 2015.  Their mission is to get all the players together for collaboration on economic development strategy. The Bloomington Council approved the formation in October 2015, see this doc:  BN Advantage  I’m sure other area governments passed the same type resolution. Temporarily forget the fact that government doesn’t […]

B-N Sports Complex-Delphi

By:  Diane Benjamin The local area has THREE agencies coordinating economic development:  B-N Convention and Visitors Bureau, BN Advantage, and the Economic Development Council. There is MUCH more to this story – but not today. The Bloomington Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has another committee nobody has ever heard of: Sports Commission Board The Board […]

Moving out?

By:  Diane Benjamin I recently had some time to read through the minutes of CIRA Board meetings and other information on their website. Discussion about extending the soccer lease took place in March:  http://cira.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/March-14-2017-minutes.pdf Normal has every intention of forcing its citizens to pay for the proposed complex: I found another item that is even […]

How Normal can get their money back

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal threw away up to $2.5 million last week to get Portillos to locate in Normal.  The Normal Town Council was told Portillos would be a destination – people would drive from 100’s of miles away. Meanwhile, Champaign got one for free. Who is at fault? Listen to Kyle Ham, CEO of […]

Connect Transit tears

See this story for the totals:  https://blnnews.com/2016/10/28/connect-transit-totals/https://blnnews.com/2016/10/28/connect-transit-totals/ By:  Diane Benjamin I didn’t attend the Connect Transit meeting last night, but I have reports from people who did. Of course people spoke that rely on buses, but people also spoke about BUDGETING a $12,000,000 loss when the country and the State of Illinois both have no […]

Seriously Kyle Ham?

By:  Diane Benjamin The local (don’t question) paper is reporting the Enterprise Zone for parts of Bloomington, Normal, McLean County, Ford County and Gibson City has been approved by the State of Illinois. This will allow for a variety of tax breaks for businesses in the zone and those wanting to locate there.  Mitsubishi closing […]

Pretending to create success

By:  Diane Benjamin Government in this country has never created prosperity.  Every dollar they spend they stole from people who worked for it.  Capitalism requires government to get out of the way so individuals can create their own success – or fail on their own. Bloomington government believes they can create economic development by throwing […]

Untraceable spending – because they can

By:  Diane Benjamin Did you know Bloomington didn’t have an Economic Development person until 2012?  Are things better or worse now? From 2016 Total Compensation report:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=5443 GRAMMERAUSTIN   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COORD Salary and benefits:  $94,583.89 . Where do some of your tax dollars go?  UN-accountable government agencies! The EDC (Economic Development Council) is getting $490,000 […]

Breaking: Mitsubishi news

By:  Diane Benjamin I have information from a VERY reliable source that the Mitsubishi plant is being sold to a liquidator.  They are taking possession of the plant on June 1st. Since there are no current prospective buyers, any providers with equipment inside the plant is being asked to remove it before July 1st. Since […]

Sharing Sales Tax is a DONE deal

By:  Diane Benjamin Congrats Bloomington!  Every one of your elected representatives managed to attend the unscheduled Council meeting last night! Normal wasn’t happy when Bloomington announced Kroger was moving down the road and across the street.  The story I’ve heard from numerous sources is that David Hales kept it a secret.  Normal had NO IDEA […]

Thoughts on sharing Sales Tax

By:  Diane Benjamin If you don’t pay attention to how Normal and Bloomington operate, once they start talking publicly about anything it’s already a done deal.  Both Councils are stacked, so Renner and Koos can easily talk them into the latest declared “best practice”.  Independent thoughts are too rare matter.  Have some lunch. Here’s what […]