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.
Executive Director Tom Bride gave an update on the primary election in March: 540 ballots have been mailed with 70 already returned, including the first one which came from Singapore! He announced 150 early voters, but several more showed up during the board meeting. He expects 20% of voters to vote by mail.
Director Bride would like to look into finding the best replacement for the current voting system. The one in use now was purchased in 2005 and first used in March of 2006. He is concerned that the vendor will stop supporting the current machines. Machines would not be replaced until summer of 2021 so as not to interfere with this year's election cycle. He is already holding discussions with the County and plans on sending out Requests for Information this summer so there would be plenty of time to make a decision. Planning is difficult because the state could change to more vote by mail. There is already discussion in the Legislature, and things can change very quickly.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
The meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM by Trustee Petty and recessed to go into a Public Hearing concerning the intent of the Board to issue $5 million General Obligation Park Bonds for capital improvements. There were no replies for calls for written and oral testimony. At 6:10 PM, the hearing was closed and the regular meeting resumed with President Johnson presiding.
Staff member Mike Friberg provided a report on the emergency repairs made on Grandview Drive following a landslide on July 7, 2019. NE Finch Co. did the work. A combination of graphs, photos, and video offered information about the rebuilding of an area of pipe and of manhole number two. The landslide was caused by groundwater, a problem not anticipated in the original construction. A groundwater drainage system to prevent this problem from occurring in the future will need to be added to the site in the future, adding significant additional cost to the project.
An amendment to the Sexual Harassment Policy was approved to comply with a new State law. The amendment adds Trustees to the policy, requiring reporting and an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment by an elected official against another elected official.
A request for a membership price increase by Peoria Zoological Society was approved. The increase will be effective April 1, 2020.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:40 PM. The next scheduled PPD Board meeting is February 12, 2020.
Farrell Davies, Observer
Executive Director Cahill reported that staff are working on developing a policy that will address cannabis use and that the policy will come before the Board by the end of 2019.
Nine Americorps volunteers who are providing park restoration and facility restoration services through November 7 introduced themselves to the Board.
Jason Hawk from Hawk-Attolo, LLC was present for the vote on Power Purchase Agreements for Solar for four PPD facilities. Executive Director Cahill thanked Trustees Harant and Snowden for meeting with her and Mr. Hawk the previous day to cover final questions regarding the agreements. A separate vote was held for each Facility Agreement for Solar. The following four facility agreements were approved unanimously: River Plex Recreation Center, Noble Center, Lakeview Recreation Center, and Owens Recreation Center.
Oct 22 meeting (Ruckregal absent) Public Hearing regarding the 2020-21 Biennial Budget had two people speak: Downtown Development Board requested funding in the budget as had been done previous years; Peoria Area Assoc of Realtors requested there be no increase in property taxes – the city should find additional sources of revenue.
Chairman Steve Morris began the October 16th meeting reporting follow-up to the citizen comment at the September meeting regarding concern about run-off water affecting an adjacent citizen’s property. Mr. Morris thanked County Highway Engineer Amy McLaren for her prompt action in seeing that the blocked highway culvert causing the problem was cleaned. He said that this culvert is on the County list for replacement and was silted in.
The Foth Company landfill engineering report covered several special waste approvals, which included:
Authority meeting was convened by Vice-Chair Bob Manning at 4:00 p.m.
Chairman Andrew Rand apologized for not beginning the Oct 10 meeting promptly at 6 p.m. due to waiting for State Representative Gordon-Booth, who wished to attend the opening agenda item. The first agenda item was the appointment of Brandy Bryant as the new Board District 5 representative. Rachel Parker previously held this position and resigned to accept appointment as County Clerk. Board member Steven Rieker announced he would abstain on the vote as he did not have information about the appointment prior to the meeting. Several board members spoke in support of Ms. Bryant. The appointment was approved with a vote of 15 yes, zero no and 1 abstain. The public seating areas of the board room were filled at the opening of the meeting. Much of the audience left after the appointment.
Mike Rucker, Chairman, Friends of the Rock Island Trail, spoke during citizen comments. He expressed concern about the village of Bellevue board being opposed to the potential rails-to-trails project from Bellevue to Farmington. Mr. Rucker said he thinks the project would be an asset to Peoria County off-road bicycle routes and for area recreation and tourism. District 1 Board Member Sharon Williams, whose area includes the Bellevue section of the proposed trail, commented that she was in support of the project and is looking into the issue.
The meeting Consent Agenda followed and contained eleven items which were approved. One zoning approval and a resolution for a bid approval followed and both were voted yes. The meeting was adjourned approximately 6:50 p.m. Joyce Blumenshine, Observer
Current Park Board Meeting
Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Michael Williams as the Southern District Trustee.
New Park Board Meeting
Southern District Trustee Williams was seated.
Trustees voted to receive and file reports on the PPD 4-Pronged Commitment to Diversity Action Items as follows:
The meeting was called to order at 6:08 PM by Chairman Robert Johnson and adjourned at 7:03. All trustees were present except Trustee Cassidy. The next scheduled PPD Board meeting is 10-23-19.
Farrell Davies, Observer
The Peoria County Election Commission approved the spending of moneys received through various grants.
Approved was the schedule for early voting for the March 17, 2020, general primary. Early voting will begin forty days before the election at the Commission office and two weeks before the election at other locations. ICC North will not be a voting location because of its proximity to the Commission office. The schedule and locations should be on the website now.
Tom Bride, executive director, is looking for a Ballot Packet Scanning & Sorting System to computerize verifications for vote by mail. The request for bids has resulted in three companies asking for information. Hopefully, more information will be available at the November meeting, with a vote in December.
Quorum included: Matt Bartolo, James Manning, and Sandra Burke. A representative of the State's Attorney's office was present.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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