6 Things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) For readers who get email notifications of stories: I did change a setting that should make your email notification look different. I needed the change to make the stats calculate accurately. 2) This is the article that makes what the Town of Normal wants to do with banning natural gas illegal: […]

Fitch proved why credit ratings are a joke

By: Diane Benjamin Fitch downgraded the US credit yesterday: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/shock-u-s-credit-rating-downgrade-by-fitch-rings-alarm-bells-about-economy/ar-AA1eGOTE This is a quote from the story: According to the company, despite the fact that the debt ceiling standoff was resolved two months ago, “the repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management.“ Let me interpret: Fitch would rather see […]

Paying mileage would have been cheaper Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when Normal bought the two Rivians? The pickup was $73,631. The SUV was $77,931. Both numbers include $1000 down payment. Council thought the two vehicles would be added to the fleet so they could be used as necessary. The pickup has regular plates that no one has ever explained. The SUV […]

Fritzen sues the Town of Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Read WGLT’s version: https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2023-06-30/former-town-council-member-sues-normal-over-high-haven-cannabis-dispensary-permit Jeff Fritzen would get a lot more support if he hadn’t sided with the Town of Normal against the citizens who wanted representation according to Illinois law. He sided with the Town instead. If you haven’t heard, Pritzker signed the legislation making Normal the only Incorporated Town that […]

“Professional staff” need redacting lessons

By: Diane Benjamin Normal’s “professional staff” redactions – one completely redacted the other one not. Both on-line comments support approving High Haven. I redacted the email address on the first one, staff redacted the name and email address on the second. Why were they treated differently? Because staff is protecting the second person? Normal doesn’t […]

Need proof Normal Trustees work for the TOWN?

By: Diane Benjamin Karyn Smith submitted a long list of questions to Pam Reece concerning the agenda for the May 1st meeting. Pam Reece responds to her questions are in yellow. Of course watching a meeting won’t reveal any of these answers, citizens might actually have the same ones. Questions are all completed before meetings […]

Normal recap 4-3-23

By: Diane Benjamin Chris Koos claimed on Facebook recently that Normal’s sewer system is fine: See 2:50 on the video. Nord asked about this payment: Pam Reece verified the Maplewood area has sewer problems. Oops Koos. _________________________ 16:25. Koos decided to let Kevin McCarthy read the LONG list of appointments before the Council voted. Stan […]

Tri-Valley Debt – Paying over 37% Interest!

By: Diane Benjamin At last Tuesday’s meeting a representative from Stifel Public Finance made presentation. As reported yesterday this presentation was to inform the board about the status of bonds, when some would be paid off, and clear the way for new bonds for another building project. If I hadn’t been at the meeting to […]

WGLT does political comedy again!

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2023-01-05/towns-legal-memo-stan-nord-email-placed-him-at-legal-risk Let’s start with the stock photo WGLT used of Stan Nord in the article. It isn’t a picture of Nord serving as an elected Trustee on the Council, it might have been taken at the Citizen Summit the Town of Normal didn’t want to hold because they don’t care what you […]

Three things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin Town of Normal cancelled Monday’s meeting: No reason given. Maybe they are afraid of Public Comment after the last meeting’s staged lunacy! In case you missed it: https://blnnews.com/2022/12/06/normal-really-doesnt-want-citizens-interfering-in-their-playground/ FYI: Town offices will be closed on the 23rd and the 26th for Christmas. See the calendar here: https://www.normalil.gov/calendar.aspx?view=list&year=2022&month=12&day=23 Remember how Connect Transit buses […]

Normal REALLY doesn’t want citizens interfering in their playground

By: Diane Benjamin Everything happening in the Town of Normal right now was self-inflicted. Chris Koos’ buddy Patrick Dullard argued that Normal was an Incorporated Town and therefore citizens didn’t have the right to put a referendum on the ballot to elect Trustees by district. Judge Kording reluctantly agreed with him: That “parade of horribles” […]

Normal: Spending your money to not comply

By: Diane Benjamin Normal issued this statement yesterday: Let’s start with the Trustee candidates listed with red stars by their name. Add former trustee RC McBride to that list. What do they all have in common? They all come from the Planning Commission! This proves why Chris Koos doesn’t tell the public who he plans […]

Normal’s Debt and the Cost

By: Diane Benjamin If you still haven’t played with the Local Government Reporting on the Illinois Comptroller’s website, do it now! This is the link to Normal’s reported debt: https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/constituent-services/local-government/local-government-warehouse/processsearchresults/?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Indebtedness&Code=064/095/31&CFY=2022&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No At the beginning of FY 2020 total debt was: $88,090,580 At the end of FY 2020 total debt was: $85,752,874 At the end of FY […]

Town of Normal Pension reports don’t match

By: Diane Benjamin Last September the Financial Trends Report was presented at a Council meeting. See it here: https://www.normalil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/20653/2021-2022-Financial-Trend-and-Condition-Report IMRF funding was reported on PDF page 45 at 106.2%. IMRF funds all pensions except Police and Fire. Fire Pension Funding was reported at 56.15% funded – PDF page 44. Police Pension Funding was reported at […]

Have the citizens of Normal noticed?

By: Diane Benjamin Nothing is new here. Normal has a long record of disregarding the wishes of citizens. I can’t possibly remember everything, but start with the most recent and work back. All of the below have stories on BlnNews.com, use Search if you want more information. A. Normal ignored the rights of citizens in […]

Dullard needs to pay!

By: Diane Benjamin Patrick Dullard continued to question signatures until the County Clerk’s office closed yesterday. Attorney David Shestokas objected to everything Dullard stated, DULLard didn’t care. His effort was a complete waste of time because his objection can not be amended. He didn’t challenge correctly the first time, he’s finished. Therefore: He should get […]

More “hiding” from Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Refer back to this story: https://blnnews.com/2022/08/03/normal-planning-commission-tomorrow/ Town Planner Mercy Davidson sent me an email stating they don’t livestream or video Board and Commission meetings. Keep in mind, all the appointees were picked by Chris Koos himself. The public doesn’t know in advance and the elected Trustees (all but one) think it is […]

More on Normal’s MICA problem

By: Diane Benjamin If you missed these two stories, read them now: https://blnnews.com/2022/07/07/normal-and-the-mica-fleece/ and https://blnnews.com/2022/07/14/normals-mica-vrs-bloomingtons-gallagher/ Brief recap: Normal has purchased comprehensive insurance through MICA for decades, they don’t bid this insurance because they claim MICA does Normal’s Finance director is on MICA’s Executive Committee Normal does accounting work for MICA The cost for Normal’s insurance […]

Let’s just say “avoiding FOIA” is on purpose

By: Diane Benjamin Or, Normal could have a really lousy FOIA retrieval system. Or, Normal doesn’t keep good records. Or, Normal is hiding information. Or, Normal just does things this way because that’s the way they’ve been done for decades – it’s a secret. Start with my FOIA pertaining to Normal doing the accounting work […]

Fly on the Wall: Normal wants to buy what?

Flying around the Normal Public Library I heard two people discussing what the Town of Normal wants to buy now: Alexander’s Steakhouse Will steaks be free for all citizens of Normal? Or, is Normal usurping capitalism again to make sure the “Right Fit” moves in? Maybe it will become a branch library! Keep in mind, […]

SHORT Normal meeting, unless….

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4329 Not much on the agenda, this meeting will only last over 10 minutes is trustee comments get good! I wonder why they vote to release Executive Session Minutes and then never put them on line? Doesn’t that mean they weren’t really released? Since the news is light, how about going back […]

Normal: Bad water is YOUR fault

By: Diane Benjamin Have brown water? Green water? Cloudy water? Funny how the Town of Normal’s go-to fix is flushing hydrants when their new water report claims nothing is wrong with the quality. https://www.normalil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/19832/TON_2022_WaterReport All those 60 year old water mains aren’t playing any part in water quality, there is nothing in the report blaming […]

No surprise, Normal needs $6 million more to build the underpass

By: Diane Benjamin This information was received by FOIA, I didn’t submit the FOIA. Start here. Normal held an Open House in February to show off the Underpass plans. Staff created a SLIDE SHOW for the event. One item was originally in the presentation but was then deleted. See this email: It now isn’t $23 […]

Normal’s Conga line of miss-truths

By: Diane Benjamin Every time Normal wants something big they recruit local elites for Public Comment to praise the project. Last Monday was no exception. Former mayor Paul Harmon spoke both at the beginning of the meeting and the end. Patrick Hoban, the President and CEO of the local Economic Development Council was first up. […]

Making EV’s affordable: free electricity

By: Diane Benjamin The data below was FOIA’d by Doug Fansler from the Town of Normal. Guess who is paying to charge Electric Vehicles? That would be the taxpayers of Normal, State of Illinois (ISU), and Heartland College district taxpayers. Maybe after paying way more for an EV than a gas powered vehicle free electricity […]

Normal tonight – Mental Health!

By: Diane Benjamin https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4265 Chris Koos is back to traveling at taxpayer expense: The agenda is pretty slim, taxpayers will get an update on your last Sales Tax rate increase: PDF page 44: The Council will be holding an Executive Session (Secret meeting) to discuss personnel issues. This has to be about specific employees, not […]

Normal could be pretty boring tonight

By: Diane Benjamin See the packet here: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4254 The weirdest thing on the agenda is Normal buying a house at 316 N. Glenn for $12,500. Besides being in Chris Koos’ neighborhood, the house is appraised for tax purposes at $22,119. That is 1/3 of the actual value. Property taxes haven’t been paid, over $9,600 of […]

Illinois has the highest State and Local Taxes!

By: Diane Benjamin WalletHub is out with a new report as of 3/7/2022. It shows Illinois is #1 with an effective State and Local tax rate of 15.01%. The lowest overall tax state is Alaska – 5.84%. Click below and page down. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/2416 Keep clicking down and you will see this: This proves why people […]

In Normal Council votes are sacrosanct, until they aren’t

By: Diane Benjamin Remember how Chris Koos frequently states payments can’t be discussed because they were all approved in the budget they spent ONE DAY discussing? He even changed the Agenda item from “approve” to “report to receive and file”. I FOIA’d Normal for a list of all organizations their employees are members of. Normal […]

Seeing a pattern?

By: Diane Benjamin 1) The “professional staff” in the Town of Normal cancelled National Fitness Campaign after the Council voted to proceed. Your representatives passed it but are not allowed to un-pass it after learning the vote was under fraudulent circumstances. Staff decided all on their own. 2) Governor Pritzker issued illegal executive orders for […]