Normal is even worse

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader I wonder if Kathleen Lorenz thinks this makes the “professional staff” that can’t be questioned look good? That “professional staff” creates the budget, did they skip funding pensions? I wonder what will happen if Stan Nord mentions this at a meeting! I can predict: Link to the Bloomington data: […]

Looking bad Bloomington!

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader Stay tuned, Normal is next. Wirepoints.org analyzed the pensions funding for 175 Illinois communities. Lots of other information is also included. Bloomington received a “D” rating. The results prove how much government has grown in 19 years and how the increased revenue wasn’t used for essential items like funding […]

Bloomington last night

By: Diane Benjamin Even though the Financial Statements (CAFR) have been finished for at least a month, they were finally presented last night. The data was uploaded to the Comptroller’s site many weeks ago, why the City couldn’t take the time to release the data is a mystery. The auditor stated Bloomington is overpaying into […]

Dying to know? Bloomington Debt!

By: Diane Benjamin $270,944,173 Again this year Bloomington’s finances are on the Illinois Comptroller’s site BEFORE the City gets around to releasing the CAFR (financial statements). The fiscal year ended 4/30/2020 – almost 6 months ago. Why rush? What do they show? Bond Debt: 47,780,000  IMRF pension debt: 12,821,451 Police Pension Debt: 77,693,023 Fire Pension […]

Why is ISU going after private business?

By:  Diane Benjamin Years ago ISU decided to tear down old dorms.  This led to a plethora of private companies building housing for ISU students.  Buildings went up all over Normal that contribute to the Town budget through property taxes. ISU has now decided to build a sophomore dorm.  Are 2nd year kids living on […]

Normal Recap Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin City Manager Pam Reece claimed they posted audio of Public Comment from the previous meeting.  All I see is a deleted video. Lesson from this Council meeting: Cummings wasn’t on video this time during the pledge.  Coincidence? If you want to talk for more than 3 minutes during public comment – first […]

Why Bloomington can’t fix the roads

By:  Diane Benjamin The financial statements for Bloomington’s year ended 4/30/19 are finally being presented at Council Monday night:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23337 The chart below shows the long term debt.   Why can’t the roads be fixed?  Because retired employees need paid.  OPEB is Other Post Employment Benefits.  Look closely at these numbers! PDF page 31 This chart […]

Normal: Financial Trends

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from numerous sources State Farm is not done downsizing their workforce.  If local governments don’t tighten their belts, the flight of residents will do it for them. These numbers were complied from what Normal reported to the Comptroller’s office:  Source: Normal – Warehouse   Note the number of employees.  Remember […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pepsi Ice? Coliseum? Tax increases?

By:  Diane Benjamin Pepsi hasn’t paid for naming rights at the Ice Center for years.  That doesn’t keep Bloomington from still giving them free advertising: PDF page 196 of the annual financial statements:     http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=20281 “Pepsi” is also on PDF pages 32 and 33. Grossinger Motors does pay for naming rights of the former US […]

Is Renner delusional?

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner was on WJBC this morning with Scott Laughlin.  Scott asked Tari about pension funding. Tari had to mention the pension funding award he accepted several years ago.  Pension funding was neglected for many years so Bloomington could do fun stuff like the BCPA and the Coliseum.  When Tari was elected […]

The cost of “Full Service” in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The numbers below are from the Illinois Comptroller’s website:    http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ Normal’s budget has increased 33% in 6 years.  5.5% per year is much higher than the inflation rate.  Last year Normal spent almost $36 million more than it did in 2012. Where is it?  Roads? Population is estimated at 54,264.  That spending […]

Epidemic of at risk kids

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington Council meeting last night did not produce much to report.  We did learn from a lady during public comment that Bloomington has an epidemic of at risk kids.  Holly (didn’t catch the last name) volunteers many hours at the Boys and Girls Club.  They currently serve almost 1000 kids and […]

Normal’s Pension Problem (and Bloomington)

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal has to pay into three pension funds:  IMRF, Police, and Fire. The funding for IMRF isn’t horrible, Police and Fire are.  What does that say about who the Town management and Council respect and who they don’t? I’m sure you remember property taxes being raised year after year […]

Downtown Task Force gets slapped

By:  Diane Benjamin The “Special” meeting before the 7:00 Council meeting has discussions about the library and the City property tax rate. The Library Board wants a tax increase but they don’t know what it is for.  Either they are going to continue plans to expand where they are or they are going to use […]

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 […]

Normal: What?

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:  http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ProcessSearchResults.cfm?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Pension%20Funds%20/%20Retirement%20Benefits&Code=064/095/31&CFY=2016&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No Normal has their 2016 report entered on the Illinois Comptroller’s website. Normal’s Year End was 3/31/2016. Are they opting not to fund pensions?  (click to enlarge) All pension funding has dropped! Police and Fire pension funding isn’t sustainable! Where do the unions stand? Tax receipts next! . . .  

Round 3: Last Monday night

By:  Diane Benjamin A Work Session was held before the Council meeting.  The most remarkable discussion was started by Alderman Fruin.  It pertained to employee benefits.  Watch his comments starting at 15:30, other people join the conversation, so keep watching.  Jim actually stands up for citizens!  That’s until he gets to an off-hand comment about […]

Bloomington: Pension Funding Reality

by:  Diane Benjamin A big part of the Bloomington Budget discussion has been pension funding.  In November the City Council adopted an aggressive funding plan to save money in later years.  The chart below shows the problem.  The numbers come from this link:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=5930 Page 250.  The Police and Fire pension funds were the worst funded. […]

Bloomington: 17 New Pensions!

by:  Diane Benjamin Tomorrow the Bloomington City Council will meet ALL DAY to discuss the City budget.  Mayor Renner and City Manager David Hales are presenting “Culture Change”.  They want raises for City employees and 17 new employees.  Those 17 new employees come with 17 new pensions.  The City of Bloomington pension systems are severely […]

Taxpayers on the Pension Hook

When investments in the pension funds don’t perform at the level required for adequate funding, the taxpayers are forced to make up the difference. Is anybody making up for your 401K losses? This is 1 of 5 state pensions funds, all have dismal returns.  Pensions reforms are being debated, but it is not likely the […]