City Council Approves 2018 Budget, Increases Fees
The City of Peoria has a budget for next year, but the vote was not unanimous.
The council increased the garbage collection fee $3 a month and raised the amusement tax from the current 2 percent to 3 percent.
But councilman Jim Montelongo voted against creating a new stormwater utility fee. That money would help pay for the cost of a future agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency on the combined sewer overflow issue and a backlog of storm water issues.
"We’ve not settled yet with the EPA and Department of Justice, and I think we’re getting the cart in front of the horse, and I absolutely disagree with the amount that’s being proposed," Montelongo said.
That fee would be three dollars for every thousand square feet of impermeable surface like rooftops and driveways. The council approved the nearly $200 million budget on a 9-2 vote, with Montelongo and Sid Ruckriegel voting no.
The council will vote to add two other sources of income at a later meeting. One is a fee for using police and public works personnel for events like races that block intersections. The council will also consider increasing fees associated with fire department services.
But two councilmen, Zach Oyler and Eric Turner warned that the current process of increasing fees won't address future budgetary needs.
"If we don’t find a reserve stream of sizable content and on going, we’re going to have to deal with this every year," Turner said.