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City of Peoria Looks at New Deficit Concerns

The city of Peoria is facing a projected $7.9 million deficit in its general fund for next year. It’s primarily due to a continued drop in tax revenue.

City manager Patrick Urich says the impact is across the board, with sales, property, utility and income taxes all down. Urich also pointed to recent changes in how the state handles municipal income. Illinois will begin to withhold two percent of the city sales tax and 10 percent of the city income tax revenue.

In an email sent to city employees Tuesday, Urich wrote that he is asking department heads for two levels of potential budget reductions. “Give me a budget scenario with a five percent reduction in your budget and another one that’s 10 percent so we can start to assess the impact that would be on services,” Urich wrote.

The deficit is about eight percent of the city’s $100-million general fund. That fund is the source for most of the city’s employee salaries. Urich will further address the issue at the August 8th Peoria City Council meeting.

Motoring in Peoria:

The price of material to seal coat streets in Peoria is up so the number of streets that will be treated will drop.

City Public Works Director Scott Reeise says the price of the oil-based material has increased, adversely affecting the city’s cost estimates from a year ago.

“We were aggressive in trying to forecast how many streets we could get done this year. Once we put it out for bid, the prices came in higher than we projected,” Reeise said.

The city will be able to treat 31 streets instead of the originally planned 44 streets.

The Peoria City Council also viewed a proposed plan to change the flow of downtown streets during its regularly scheduled meeting.

Public works director Scott Reeise says the biggest change would be eliminate one-way streets. “So Adams, Jefferson, Fayette, Spalding, Perry any of the one-way streets go back to two-way streets like they were in the 1950s in Peoria which can also generate some commerce.”

The plan also would re-open the Fulton Street plaza to vehicle traffic. The city is not currently planning any of these changes. It is conceptual in nature, but an overall plan is requested by the state department of transportation to smooth future requests for street changes.

Civic Center News:

The Peoria Civic Center is looking outside its walls to attract business. The Peoria City Council Tuesday night also approved a plan to allow improvements to land adjacent to the civic center.

The civic center will add landscaping and a decorative fence to the lot at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson Streets. Civic Center general manager Anne Clayton says this will allow the civic center to handle outdoor events like weddings and corporate affairs during warmer months.

This also is the site of the Winterfest skating rink. Clayton hopes the changes will improve the appearance of the land after the rink closes.