© 2024 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Home-based food businesses in Pekin won't need to add the city's 2% food and beverage tax to their sales

Pekin Community High School girls soccer coach Edgar Sandoval (left) and assistant coach Gus Kormah stand alongside exchange student Marta Arranz-Martin, who played for the PCHS girls soccer team this spring, outside the Pekin City Council meeting room at Pekin City Hall. Arranz-Martin was presented gifts from the city by Pekin Mayor Mary Burress and the No. 24 jersey from the coaches during a council meeting Tuesday.
Submitted photo
Pekin Community High School girls soccer coach Edgar Sandoval (left) and assistant coach Gus Kormah stand alongside exchange student Marta Arranz-Martin, who played for the PCHS girls soccer team this spring, outside the Pekin City Council meeting room at Pekin City Hall. Arranz-Martin was presented gifts from the city by Pekin Mayor Mary Burress and the No. 24 jersey from the coaches during a council meeting Tuesday.

Entrepreneurs who want to create and sell food like baked goods from their home should not be subject to Pekin's 2% food and beverage sales tax.

The Pekin City Council made that choice Tuesday after city staff asked for a policy decision.

Josh Wray, the city's economic development director, told council that city staff had recently received an inquiry about the tax from a person who wished to open a home-based bakery.

While businesses like that one should be subject to the tax according to the city code, Wray said, the language is relatively vague, so council was asked for direction.

One side of the issue, Wray said, is the "real or perceived unfairness" of having food businesses with a retail location be subject to the tax, while home-based food businesses escape the tax.

On the other hand, Wray said, if home-based food businesses aren't subject to the tax, that would "promote entrepreneurship and Pekin-grown businesses that will likely stay in Pekin if they ever open a retail store."

Council voted 6-1 not to impose the tax on home-based food businesses, with council member Lloyd Orrick casting the lone yes vote.

"It doesn't make sense to make someone who is baking birthday cakes for a few friends be subject to the tax," said council member Karen Hohimer.

City, soccer coaches send Spanish foreign exchange student home with gifts

Council and city staff took time out Tuesday from the serious businesses of running the city to honor Pekin Community High School sophomore exchange student Marta Arranz-Martin from Madrid, Spain, who is ending her stay in Pekin as the school year draws to a close.

After leading the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, Arranz-Martin was presented with several gifts including a city flag signed by Mayor Mary Burress and council members, a city pin, a Mayor's Challenge Coin, and a gift bag from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Arranz-Martin played on the PCHS girls soccer team this spring. Coach Edgar Sandoval and assistant coach Gus Kormah presented Arranz-Martin with a PCHS girls soccer No. 24 jersey, commemorating the 2024 season, when she was on the team's roster.

"Marta was a hard worker and had a great attitude. We were happy to have her be part of our family," Sandoval said.

"I'm from Liberia. Marta is from Spain. Soccer is big in those countries," Kormah said. "But Marta didn't play soccer before she came here. She's a basketball player. I'm glad we got her to come out for soccer. She was a great inspiration to our players."

Burress said the Mayor's Challenge Coin was created recently for the mayor of Pekin to present to persons who have done a good deed or taken on a challenge for the city.

Each of the eight World War II veterans from Pekin who appeared at a Memorial Day event in Morton were given a coin by Burress.

"I gave a coin to the young lady from Spain for taking on the challenge of leaving her home at age 15 and going to a foreign country to go to school," Burress said.

The idea of the Mayor's Challenge Coin came from Pekin City Manager and former Police Chief John Dossey. The coin originated with the military and now is also used by police and firefighters, Burress said.

Discover Peoria will get $25,000 in financial support from Pekin

Pekin will continue its financial support of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Discover Peoria.

After sending $20,000 annually to the organization for a few years, the city's contribution this year will be $25,000. In return, the PACVB will create a Pekin tourism promotional video in addition to the other services it normally provides the city.

Those services include Pekin and Marigold Festival landing pages on the Discover Peoria website, unlimited listings on the Discover Peoria calendar of events, a seat on the Discover Peoria board and consultations with Discover Peoria staff.

Pekin chamber President Amy McCoy represents Pekin on the Discover Peoria board. The chamber organizes and runs the city's major tourism events.

The council voted 6-1 Tuesday to increase the city's funding to the PACVB, with council member Rick Hilst casting the dissenting vote.

The increase returns the city to the funding amount it provided the PACVB prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PACVB lowered its funding request from the city during the pandemic years.

Council approves TIF funding plan, purchase of replacement backup IT devices

Also Tuesday, council approved:

* A plan to offer $120,000 in TIF funding for small commercial projects, up to maximum $50,000 per project. Another $250,000 in TIF funding will be available for larger projects. These projects can be in the Central Business District, Court Street or Southern Industrial Park TIF districts. Wray said the possible $50,000 in TIF funding for small projects was put in place because he'd like to see TIF funding go to "fewer, but more impactful" projects. Council voted 6-1 in favor of the plan, with Hilst casting the no vote.

* Spending $75,783 for replacement backup IT devices at the police department and wastewater treatment facility. The backup products in place now are past their end-of-life, according to David Hess, the city's network support administrator. SHI International, through a state contract that was bid competitively, will provide the backup devices along with licensing, unlimited cloud storage and a maintenance plan. Council unanimously approved the purchase.

Steve Stein is an award-winning news and sports writer and editor. Most recently, he covered Tazewell County communities for the Peoria Journal Star for 18 years.