The Observer Reports were written by volunteer observers of the Greater Peoria League of Women Voters. The reports are presented here as a public service. They are in no way “official” but are intended solely as an informal means of enabling citizens to monitor the meetings of local government bodies. Every effort has been made to make these reports accurate; however, like all materials of this nature, they are subject to human error.
All members were present at the September 10 meeting and arrived early. Minutes, expenses, and reimbursement for expenses related to the HAVA Security Grant were approved. Additional cameras, door access panels, software, and training have already been added. Director Tom Bride will also be asking for partial reimbursement for some County expenses that were pushed by election needs.
Staff is currently looking at ballot readers, and a Request For Purchase will go out once exact needs are determined. The State's Attorney was not present, but Director Bride reported that the County is getting close to a determination on the property tax issue (whether the landlord is responsible for real estate tax on the part of the building housing the election commission).
Irene Pritzker, Observer
Trustees unanimously approved three motions that will give the City of Peoria the ability to complete the Bike Trail Connection in Glen Oak Park.
Staff reports were given including a Strategic Plan Update by Executive Director Emily Cahill. The update included the following highlights:
Linda Daley convened the Aug 20 meeting at 4pm with all Board Members present - in person or on the phone.
Committee Members from the shaft 1866 Civil War Monument Committee presented the timeline of their work:
*March 6, 2019 – A contract was signed by Bruce Brown, as CWMC member, with Otto Baum Company, Inc. contracting this entity to perform and complete the engineering, design, restoration and re-erection work of the Civil War Monument Project.
*A number of the original stones were recovered and restored. Missing stones were reproduced by the company that made the original stones.
Budget for project $45,540. $31,100 has been paid to date with a remaining payment of $18,140 to be paid for erection of the monument. With respect to any future costs for maintenance or landscaping, the Authority Board was advised that there is a current surplus of $5,440 in the account, with an available Cat match in April of 2020 of $1950 for a total of $7,390.
Annual Meeting of the Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners on August 16, 2019 included Chief Judge Paul Gilfillan swearing in Mark Ketterer and Sandra Burke. Election of Commission Officers included Matt Bartolo Chair, Mark Ketterer Vice Chair, Sandra Burke Secretary, LaColis Reed Treasurer, and James Manning Commissioner. Reed’s term ends 2020. Bartolo and Manning’s terms end 2021. Ketterer and Burke’s terms end in 2022. The Chief Judge appoints the commissioners and considers political party affiliation as part of the appointments.
Executive Director Bride discussed the additional security measures (cameras and security badge additions) installed recently with grant money. Training videos for election judges are being done professionally. Budget was approved to be sent to Peoria County. (Notes: Building rental was up $9500 due to real estate tax dispute. Lease is 15 year with 5 year bump if desired. Software and maintenance contract includes vendors in town for elections. All staff qualified for the County’s longevity (5 year) bonus this year. Election related costs are up because 2020 is a presidential election year.)
Peoria Housing Authority (PHA) Board of Commissioners meeting was held on August 5 at Taft Homes, 245 Green St. at 4:30 pm with Commissioners Tekia Childs and Renee Andrews absent.
Chairman Cannon informed the audience that additional board members would be present next meeting. Meeting agenda was posted on PHA web site; no additional information or approved meeting minutes were posted at the time of this meeting. Many residents of Taft Homes were present, anticipating discussion of the future plans to renovate Taft Homes. Commissioner Cannon explained that the plans would be shared with residents at public meetings as soon as they were available. There were no public comments. Jackie Neuman, CEO, gave her report and shared copies of PHA quarterly newsletter. Monthly Board meetings will be held at various PHA sites for improved communication with residents.
PEORIA – Legislation designed to clean up coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal and power plants, and prevent local water sources from being polluted was signed into law today.
Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) was one of Senate Bill 9’s chief-cosponsors.
“Someone needs to be responsible for cleaning up the toxic waste around coal power plants, and it shouldn’t be local taxpayers,” Koehler said. “I commend the advocates who made this bill happen and the governor for making this a priority.”
A report issued by environmental groups in late 2018 found that the amount of coal ash in groundwater around the E.D. Edwards Coal Plant south of Peoria was 18 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standard.
The Peoria area is home to three coal plants total: E.D. Edwards in Bartonville, Powerton in Pekin and Duck Creek near Canton.
Information and Congressional petition on "The Dead Zone" available (copy paste) at:
The monthly meeting of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission met on July 25 with only eleven of the twenty-one members present. There was not a quorum for a regular meeting, but there were enough members of the executive committee to hold an executive meeting.
The meeting started with a presentation by Jake Hamann of the Peoria Innovation Alliance. He told of plans for an Innovation District in downtown Peoria, as well as plans for Peoria to become a Smart City. Russ Crawford stressed that there should be collaboration between the various groups involved in these projects.
In regular business, the Commission approved letting a five year old line of credit expire since it was used only once and that was four years ago. They approved putting new salary ranges into the employee handbook and giving employees a 2% pay increase. That had already been approved in the budget. The Commission approved the use of a consultant to assist with a Regional Autonomous Mobility Conference that will be held in Peoria this fall. They also discussed the Strategic Planning Session that will be held on Saturday, October 5.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
Jamila Wilson, Observer
Linda Daley chaired the meeting, welcoming new Board Member, Pam Johnson.
Director Bride and his staff have started working on next year's budget. He anticipates an increase of 11.57% in total expenses because it will be a presidential election year. This takes into account an increase in vote-by-mail. He believes the Board will be under budget this year and plans to use some of the excess money to buy supplies for next year. The director will sit down with the County administrator at the end of July to go over the proposed budget. The Election Commission will need to approve it at the August meeting with the County Board voting in November.
There was not a lot of business to conduct since there are no pending elections. Commissioner Reed was out of town and Commissioner Burke arrived ten minutes late. During the discussion of expenses, Director Tom Bride explained that he wanted the payments for Ameren and the cleaners to be pre-approved since the bills were not expected until after the monthly meeting. This way he could avoid late payments since he knew approximately what those amounts would be.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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