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Citing job gains, Koos is optimistic Normal will see continued revenue growth

Chris Koos
WGLT file photo
Normal Mayor Chris Koos says he expects the increased tax revenue the town saw in the last year to continue into the future.

The Town of Normal is using increased tax revenue to catch up on various projects in the $209 million budget the town council approved this week.

Mayor Chris Koos said he's optimistic the growth that led to the increased revenue will continue in the coming years.

“I’m pretty optimistic for the next couple of years at least that that will happen,” Koos said in an interview on WGLT’s Sound Ideas. “We’ve got full employment, new people in the community, a lot of good-paying jobs showing up in the community. So, I think we are going to be strong."

The budget the council approved on Monday is about 10% higherthan the current spending plan. Koos said the additional revenue from sales and income taxes will help the town catch up on road, water and sewer projects and park improvements.

One Voice

Last week, a delegation of McLean County government and business leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for federal funding for three major projects.

The Town of Normal is seeking federal funding for two infrastructure projects. Koos was part of the delegation, along with council member Chemberly Harris, city manager Pam Reece and public works director Ryan Otto.

The town has requested $4 million for storm water improvements in Uptown. Koos said the intersection of Beaufort Street and Broadway Avenue consistently floods during heavy rains, causing damage to both Uptown hotels and nearby Watterson Towers on the Illinois State University campus.

“We have to beef up the sewers in that area to handle these rains. When we designed the system, we didn’t see these 100-year rains every year,” Koos said.

The second project is a $5 million sewer extension into north Normal. Koos said it would serve the industrial area that includes Brandt Industries, Nussbaum Transportation, and the warehouse that was recently purchased by Phoenix Investors and is being used by electric automaker Rivian as a storage facility.

Koos said that project would enable the Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District (BNWRD) to extend sewer lines to Hudson in the future.

“This is important to support what we see (as) growth in that industrial area there, but also in the long term, it is a piece that will allow Hudson to connect into (BNWRD sewer lines),” Koos said.

One Voice also requested $5 million for a road to support cargo at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

The goal of that project, according to the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) proposal, is to “bypass the terminal’s main entrance/exit roadway, thereby increasing safety for those entering the terminal area while decreasing road maintenance expense.”


On another topic, Koos said he expects the town council will soon discuss whether it wants to limit the number of cannabis retail stores in the town.

Koos said he believes there's enough council support to cap the number of pot shops at three.

“Half of my thought process is the market is going to determine how many you can have in the marketplace,” he said.

Currently, the town has one cannabis store. The council recentlystruck down a request for a cannabis store in a busy shopping area near Veterans Parkway. Another company has requested to open a pot shop in a strip mall in north Normal.

The town's zoning board of appeals will hear the request on March 16.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.