Dying to know what Bloomington is doing tonight?

By: Diane Benjamin If you want to see what bills are being paid they are no longer under City Council, probably because the Council never questions them at a meeting. They are now under Finance. The report still shows 970 employees: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/28098 Did you know this what your tax dollars pay every month? (Connect Transit) Green Top […]

Monday Merriment for Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Agenda and documentation:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=21652 The agenda is slammed with final spending from the budget that expires 4/30/19 and spending from the new budget just passed. Either this never made the news or I missed it, a fire at Lake Bloomington destroyed two vehicles that are being replaced.  The fire was in March […]

Bloomington Assaults Business tonight!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council will approve the “business license” at tonight’s meeting:       The City claims the $50 is a one-time fee.  It won’t be.  Businesses are required to re-register every year.  That means next year the City Manager will want “cost-recovery” again.  Gleason will suddenly realize staff needs to […]

More on Parks and Rec Budgets

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are the ADMIN salaries for Parks & Rec – the pencil pushers:  (pensions and benefits not included)  Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Administration What does the Zoo cost? Miller Park Zoo Budget Yes, citizens of Bloomington are paying almost $600,000 for the Zoo. It’s very cool, but obviously not run as a […]

No Discussion Spending

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15932 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 […]

Food ban at Miller Park!

Update: https://blnnews.com/2017/12/23/updates-miller-park-normal-west/ By:  Diane Benjamin I could write volumes about last Monday’s 7:00 pm Council meeting at the BCPA.  For now, just listen to a comment made by Jay Tetzloff during his presentation to the Council about the zoo. Jay is all excited about having food available both inside and outside of the zoo for […]

More Council Christmas presents

By:  Diane Benjamin Correction – approving Bills and payroll isn’t on the agenda, so they have nothing to pay! Surprise! http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-500 Bills and Payroll is not posted for tonight’s meeting.  The last time the City failed to post this days in advance of the meeting, a plane ticket for the mayor’s girlfriend was included. What […]

Hovering on a cliff

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14181 The 2017 year ended for the City of Bloomington last April 30th.  We are most likely MONTHS away from seeing real financial statements, late is what governments do and the private sector would never tolerate. I did find a glimpse into what they will say – see the link above. […]

Zoo good news leaves this out:

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday news reports stated the zoo increased the number of visitors from last year and revenues were up around $21,000.  Good for them! One reason given was the new flamingo exhibit.  Left out of all the good news stories is how much it cost to increase revenue and attendance. Just construction – […]

Finally some data!

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington Finance Department posted a summary as 4/30/16 – the end of the City’s fiscal year:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=10958 The information is un-audited and tax receipts from State sources lag months behind, but the 63 pages provides a good snapshot of where finances were at the end of April. Below is […]

Hales October Report:

By:  Diane Benjamin The October City Manager’s report is now on-line:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=9452 Miller Park Zoo Revenue from admissions was up 13.3% for the current fiscal year. Last year, the revenue from admissions broke the all-time record for the Zoo in a fiscal year. This represents the fourth consecutive year the all-time attendance revenue record was […]

Flamingos: pink isn’t the color

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday Bloomington officials will break ground at Miller Park Zoo for the flamingo exhibit.  They may be stepping in lots of red ink instead of showcasing pink. It all comes down to wings.  Flamingos have them.  Flamingos were born to fly.  The ones in Miller Park won’t.  They will try, but most […]

The Tari podcast APPEARS!

By:  Diane Benjamin Surprise!  WJBC decided to post the Renner podcast.  Yes, he did call anybody who objected to spending money for flamingos “loud nasty voices”.  Listen here. http://cdn.stationcaster.com/stations/wjbc/media/mpeg/Tari_Renner__Bloomington_Mayor_8_12_15-1439477301.mp3 I bet you didn’t know the Zoo Master plan is a contract to fund their projects!  The Council is always told Master Plans don’t assure any […]

Truth about the Zoo

By:  Diane Benjamin From the Council meeting held October 8, 2012 where the Zoo Master Plan was passed (Stockton was still Mayor) The recommendation is to adopt the MPZ Master Plan, as presented without binding any financial requirements. The financial planning and funding would be decided within the citywide long term capital improvement budget which […]

Buying Flamingos, Land, and filling their bellies

By:  Diane Benjamin At Monday’s Bloomington City Council meeting: Regular Agenda A.  Consideration of review and analysis of Bids and Approval of a Contract with CAD Construction, Inc., in the amount of $232,760 for construction of Flamingo Exhibit at the Miller Park Zoo (Bid #2016-05.) (Recommend that the contract with CAD Construction Inc.,for construction of […]

Flamingos? This time you get monkeys!

By:  Diane Benjamin On the Bloomington City Council agenda tonight is $111,300 for a monkey exhibit at the zoo. RECOMMENDATION/MOTION: Recommend that the RFP for Design/Construction Oversight of DeBrazza Plaza at Miller Park Zoo be awarded to SWT Design, in the amount of $111,300, the contract approved and the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized […]

Bloomington: On Monday’s agenda (lies?)

by:  Diane Benjamin Was Mayor Renner lying again? Part of an email he wrote to Alderwomen Stearns about proposed budget cuts: You didn’t even get the facts right on flamingos that you’ve been talking about. The city’s cost is $150K – they already have $100K from private contributions. So, the ‘savings’ would be 150K and […]

Miller Park Zoo should be privately run-why does a City own it?

Why do taxpayers fund a zoo?  The private sector is always able to innovate better than the public sector.  It can work: Wildlife Prairie State Park stays open through private nonprofit ownership by Brian Costin 15 May 2013 | Illinois Policy Institute Every once in a while, government in Illinois actually gets smaller. One recent […]

What does the Miller Park Zoo cost YOU?

by:  Diane Benjamin If you live in Bloomington, yes you are paying for the Zoo.  Below is the OPERATING Financial Statement as of 4/30/2012.  This information is from the 4/30/2012 Trial Balance obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  In an effort to provide Bloomington citizens with “Quality of Life”, the zoo costs you $460,711. […]

Miller Park Zoo and YOU

by Diane Benjamin Citizens and Politicians alike need a RESET!  Any tax dollars government has they STOLE from YOU. Radical statement?  YES.  But what is the role of government?  A Coliseum?  A Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts?  Total re-build of downtown Normal? Isn’t the REAL purpose of government to protect our rights?  Anybody read […]

Fiscal Irresponsibility-City of Bloomington

Cute, aren’t they?  We hear the Bloomington Zoo wants to add them and other attractions totaling $16.7 Million – YOUR tax money. The financial statement for the year ending 3/31/2012 are NOT issued yet, but here are some notes from the 3/31/2011 statement: The City continues to retire compensated absences liabilities for employees; however, for […]