On September 18, 2018, the Peoria County Election Commission held its first meeting at their new location on Brandywine Drive. All commissioners were present except for Sandra Burke.
Tom Bride, executive director, is looking into getting a covered bus stop outside the office. The new location gives the employees much needed organized storage space. They will be trained on using all of the smart utilities in the building. The door/wall allowing more or less space in the main part of the facility will not be installed until after the election because it would cause disruption for a whole day.
Vote by mail ballots were to go out on Friday, September 21. The office has already received approximately 5000 requests. On site voting will start at the satellite locations on October 22. The procedure for the mail-in ballots was explained. Signatures are checked as they come in—within two days. They are scanned and processed when enough come in to warrant calling in judges.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
5/16/2018: The Peoria City County Landfill Committee met their usual third Wednesday, May 16, at 3 pm, in Room 404 at Peoria City Hall.
Public comment included a request for explanation of some of the chemicals showing up in groundwater monitoring and how some are determined not to be not site related and others have continued testing.
Committee Chair Steve Morris asked that Foth engineering address the questions during their Groundwater Update report. Some test wells are affected by migrating landfill gasses. Other things that happen are contaminants that are from the coal mining done at the site before it became a landfill or testing at the lab. If a level of concern is detected, there is a time-frame for follow-up testing, which often shows no further action is needed. If levels remain of concern, the next step is a determination of the source and assessment monitoring is done. The testing looks for a statistically significant change as they want to know if the landfill is affecting groundwater.
8/14/2018: Interesting that Councilman Cyr participated in meeting by phone. Mayor Ardis asked the Councilman if he had questions or what his vote was at the beginning of discussion or vote.
Consent Agenda item 18-236, which was "pulled," was a contract with Change and Innovation Agency, LLC for a 3 day Innovation Academy Training. But the Peoria Innovation Team - which was financed by a grant from Bloomberg Foundation- has an uncertain future since the Bloomberg grant runs out of grant funding soon.
No discussion on CEO Council MOU or the Water Due Diligence - holdup is from CEO Council.
No discussion on EPA feedback on the Combined Sewer Overflow.
Most discussion was about the budget hole. (See PJStar for more information on that.)
Cheryl Budzinski, Observer
8/22/2018: The Peoria County Election Commission held its annual meeting on August 22, 2018. Matt Bartolo and David Collins were reappointed and Sandra Burke was seated as the replacement for outgoing member Camille Gibson. David Collins was also reelected as the Chair of the Commission. A resolution was passed unanimously to honor Camille Gibson for her years of service.
Moving day for the Commission will be September 11, and is expected to take two days. The new phone number will go live on September 13. The staff will do their own packing, in part to save money, but mostly so they will know where everything is as they start to unpack. Signage should be up already. Refinishing the parking lot was a concern that was discussed.
3/13/2018: The Election Commission this month welcomed back director Tom Bride.
In going over the month's bills, it was explained that the Commission receives a utility bill for the whole Brandywine building, but the owner reimburses the County for his share of the building.
As of March 13, there have already been close to 1300 early voters in the primary. This is much higher than in 2014 when the last gubernatorial election was held.
The Brandywine remodel is current on the projected timeline. There were some very minor changes in design, but the project should be let out for bids in April. The bidding process will include a September 1, completion date. Dewberry's estimated cost of the remodel is $620,000, but that includes contingencies and is not based on bids. Over the summer, satellite locations for early voting will need to be found. One location must, by law, be the Commission office. That location is very close to the current ICC Peoria spot. Some place close to the current office will need to be found that is convenient to residents south of the interstate.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
9/18/2018: Bob Manning chaired the meeting - Chair Steve Kerr and Pat Powers were absent.
Manager Matusak reported:
9/27/2018: Township Supervisor Frank Abdnour reports that Peoria Township's budget request will include a 22% decrease and can meet their client's needs with that decrease.
Discussion included that property values in Peoria may be expected to continue to decline for 2-3 years as there is "no indications of the kind of economic stability needed ...to prevent a continued decline in property values", according to Township Collector Patrick Nichting.
Also discussed was that General Assistance participation has declined since implementation of the voucher system and according to Abdnour is in line with other townships of similar size. And, if the Affordable Care Act were to be eliminated, the township would again need to cover costs (prescription drugs) currently covered by the ACA.
LOGO Chair, Cheryl Budzinski
10/16/2018: Bob Manning chaired the meeting –
Manager Mark Matusak reported:
· Mike Ruker gave a report regarding the Prairie Gardens and his projected involvement. He also mentioned the possibility of the Peoria Chapter of the DAR becoming the “monitor” for the forthcoming planting in the cemetery area designated as the “natural area” by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
· Jon Hodel from CloudPoint gave an update and demonstration using the program used to map of the cemetery.
· Burials are still down – no new interments during October.
Interesting, yet very long meetings! I admit that I do not attend all City Council meetings and so it is nice to have the podcast/video available. I was especially discouraged when I watched the December 4 meeting. At about 1 hour:25 minutes, the council’s frustration with the budget and with citizens/business groups’ input (criticism) was not well received. There were repeated comments about the small percentage (@11%) of our real estate tax bill going to the City, which is kind of true. Actually, it is @14% if you include the garbage fee which is the city’s. Also, when you look at all your utility bills with charges, fees or taxes- stormwater fee, electric/gas charge, cell phone fee/tax, water bill fee/tax, GPSD charge/fee, you understand that real estate taxes aren’t the only money the city collects from us. And, now a pension fee. Please pay attention to the At-Large City Council candidates in the Primary Election on February 26. We need the ten best candidates to continue to the April election. Go to candidate forums. Ask the candidates for specifics –such as, what is the candidate’s specific solution for the budget? How will they work with other council persons to sell their solution?
Cheryl Budzinski, Observer
May 24, 2018 meeting started on time with three Board members absent. James Fassino, Chair, present. Agenda available on website; minutes of April meeting approved. These were not on website prior to meeting; March minutes available. Public comment available at beginning of meeting. Nicole Livsey, HCV FSS Coordinator, introduced PHA resident who had completed program and is entering nursing school in fall. Five members of community present; PJS reporter present.
Jackie Newman, Executive Director of Springfield Housing Authority, gave overview of her site visits to PHA properties. Ms. Newman is currently under contract to direct PHA for twelve months after resignation of prior PHA Director.
Financial report shows collections are up 8.7% over prior period; this is due to asset management staff handling collections.
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