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: 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 […]

Normal Tossing Money (Yours!)

By: Diane Benjamin Normal bills for Monday night:  When your property taxes go up Monday: You will be told the cost of other people’s retirements went up: The real reason is the debt Normal has incurred building utopia. . Look at all the INTEREST payments below in Monday’s packet.  They total  $1,628,761.92. It gets […]

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 […]

Retreat! Yep, but it’s a secret

By:  Diane Benjamin Tax receipts are flat.  The City of Bloomington is facing more “structural deficits” they created.   What to do, what to do? Let’s hold a retreat Saturday at the Den where it can’t be video taped!  The citizens have no right to know we are going to raise property taxes: Packet PDF page […]

2 emails to government you need to see

By:  Diane Benjamin Local CPA Carl Woodward injects himself occasionally in local government when he sees something everyone is missing.  You should know he supported and funded Tari Renner 4 years ago, he no longer supports him.  (I tried to talk sense to him, he didn’t listen) Within the past week or two he has […]

Normal: What?

By:  Diane Benjamin Source: 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 […]

A little about Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin While I rarely ever agree with ANYTHING the Town of Normal does, they are light-years ahead of Bloomington on transparency.  A lot of information is on their website, citizens just need to look for it. See this report,  it is issued every year: This Financial Trends and Conditions report covers 4/1/2014 […]

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: 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 […]

Illinois’ money woes pits students’ needs vs. teachers’ retirements

Illinois Watchdog SPRINGFIELD — Illinois can either pay for students to learn or for teachers to retire. It cannot afford both.Illinois’ appointed State Board of Education on Thursday asked lawmakers to pay for learning. The state board approved a nearly $5-billion budget request that would fully fund education for the first time in Illinois since […]

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