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Peoria County adopts $155 million FY 2024 budget

The Oct. 12, 2023 Peoria County Board meeting.
Tim Alexander
The Peoria County Board meets on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023 at the county courthouse.

The Peoria County Board adopted a $155 million fiscal year 2024 budget and tax levy during Thursday’s monthly meeting at the Peoria County Courthouse.

The funding includes $60.8 million in personnel costs and $32 million for contractuals. Under the 2024 budget, county property taxes will be maintained at 82.41 cents per $100 equal assessed value. The county expects to see an increase of 6.7% in property taxes collected.

The adopted budget also funds pension obligations and allocates funds for multiple infrastructure projects, including the continued construction of the Health and Human Services building, multiple road and bridge rehabilitations, highway department facility upgrades and courthouse repairs.

“As a board, we have two main priorities; infrastructure and taking care of our facilities,” Sharon Williams, District 1 board representative and board vice chairperson, said prior to the vote.

“This year’s budget tackles projects that were either not funded or put on hold," she said. "Hopefully over the next year, we will see some great strides in addressing the needs of our facilities and paying off Heddington Oaks funds. This is one area we will be looking at next year to come up with a strategy to put the future board in a position to pay off the bonds in 2032, which is nine years from now.”

In a news release issue following the meeting, Peoria County Board chairperson James C. Dillon said the board prioritized capital improvements in its strategic plan.

“This budget reflects our commitment to that priority with heavy investments in roads and bridges, building improvements, and upgraded vehicles for the sheriff’s office, highway department, and Animal Protection Services (PCAPS). This budget does not raise property taxes, fully funds our pension obligations, and invests in the maintenance and repair of our facilities so we can continue to offer quality services to the public,” said Dillon.

Though the budget was approved, several board members took exception to having only 13 days to review the 500-page document and act upon it.

“I support this (budget) because I know how hard Sharon and everyone involved has worked, however the fact that it is a living document that amendments can be made to makes it a little easier to swallow,” said Terry Ruhland, District 13 board representative. “We have in this budget have ignored revenue versus our reserves policy. We have the benefit of increased assessed valuation and it would appear that we are doing everything we can to spend it without putting anything into the reserve.”

In another matter, the board also approved a collective bargaining agreement between the county and AFSCME-PCEA Local 3586 on a five-year deal with wage increases of up to six% by 2025, along with other incentives.

“I just want to give a huge thank you to (Peoria County Administrator) Shauna (Musselman) and (Peoria County clerk), her team and Rachel (Parker) for representing the electorate and all of the wonderful employees who were able to come to a mutually-agreed on decision,” said Eden S. Blair, District 6 board representative, just before the CBA was unanimously approved by the board.

The board’s October meeting also included approval of a special-use permit for a 36-acre solar farm on agricultural land located west of Peoria’s Grand Prairie Drive.

Before the meeting concluded, the board suspended its rule that funding requests must pass through committees before being acted upon to approve a $69,000 repair to the county jail’s motorized security gate. The faulty loading dock door was breached during the recent escape of an inmate — later recaptured — from the jail.

In addition, the board’s approved FY 2024 budget allocates $1.7 for other county jail improvements and repairs. The county’s approved FY 2024 budget, in its proposed format, is available to view online at https://www.peoriacounty.org/395/Budget-Information. Changes brought forth during last night’s meeting will be reflected in the coming days.

Tim Alexander is a correspondent for WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.