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Pekin City Council unanimously approves $89.9 million budget

The Pekin City Council unanimously approved a nearly $90 million balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a special meeting Monday morning.

Council member Lloyd Orrick called it "one of the most complete budgets" he's seen in years.

"It's a good compromise. And I believe that's what we have to do, is compromise our position," he said.

The budget includes $37 million for various capital improvement projects around the city, including $8 million for road construction on Court Street between Hilltop Drive and Stadium Drive. It's the latest phase of a multi-year effort to fix up one of the main arterial roads running through Pekin.

Council member Dave Nutter asked if the Court Street project was moving forward this construction season. City engineer Josie Esker said the project is ready to move forward, except for the land acquisition piece.

"You're not going to get a timeline because we don't know the timeline yet," she said. "We still are working on land acquisition and it is dependent on property owners along Court Street."

Esker said she believes most landowners want the project to go forward, but the land appraisal process takes time. Corporate owners also often have a lengthy process for approving such agreements, she said.

The budget also includes $3 million for milling and overlaying streets downtown and adding ADA-compliant ramps per a federal consent decree; $5.5 million for improvements on Derby Street between 8th and 14th Streets; and around $10 million for combined sewer overflow projects that include $1.5 million for a demolition project along the riverfront.

Council members also discussed at length ending recycling services to save money, though no action was taken Monday. The city budgeted around $2.8 million for recycling services in the upcoming fiscal year.

"At least back in the day if you were a recycler, you would take it to the same place where we take it. So it's not like people can't recycle," said council member and mayor pro-tem Becky Cloyd.

But Orrick said there should be a cost analysis done first so the council could have information to work with.

"I think that could probably be done in a couple months so we could make a decision. That's what's best for our residents," he said.

Council member Karen Hohimer was absent from Monday morning's meeting.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.