Peoria City Council Observer Report
Council members approved consent agenda -thirteen items- unanimously, as well as minutes of April 12, 2022 joint city council and township minutes.
Communication from City Manager Urich to approve intergovernmental agreement to establish public health equity fund between city, Peoria County and Peoria County Board of Health of $600,000 over four years. Goal to address health and safety outcomes in impoverished areas. Mayor Ali suggested presentation of plan as it is developed.
Communication from City Manager and Director of Community Development presented to approve amending comprehensive plan that includes East Bluff Housing Needs Assessment and Community Revitalization Plan. Plan supported by third district Councilor Riggenbach and passed by ten to one vote, John Kelly opposed.
Council passed ordinance to amend Chapter 31 of Code of City of Peoria relating to stormwater utility fee. This allows for property owners who are able to prove all stormwater was retained on property may be eligible for additional reduction in fee. This application process requires submission of engineering reports and other paperwork.
Finance Director Cratty presented overview of pension fund structures in Illinois and ongoing consolidation of police and fire pensions. See minutes at www.peoriaorg.gov for full discussion.
Continued concerns regarding panhandling at intersections and public safety had the attention of the council and citizens. Interim Corporation Counsel Kapustka gave presentation on existing state laws and ordinances related to this issue, as well as provided options being used by other municipalities.
City Manager Urich communicated information on predicted Ameren energy rate increases related to Regional Energy Supply Auction on April 14, 2022. The current contract with City will expire at end of May 2022, resulting in energy purchases on volatile market. More information is anticipated over next few weeks. Rate increases raised from $5.00/megawatt to $236.00/megawatt and could result in consumer expense increase of $500.00 per year.
The Peoria City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 P.M. You can listen on WCBU radio, view on public access channel 22 or watch online https://peoriail.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Connie Romanus, Observer
Peoria Public Schools Observer Report
The Peoria Public Schools Board held its regularly scheduled meeting on April 25, 2022 with all seven board members present.
PPS Announcements (Upcoming Events)
PPS Awards and Recognitions
Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat congratulated four PPS teachers – Emily Dawson, Shannon Sailer, Michelle Salazar and Lauren Wulf for earning advanced teaching credentials by achieving National Board Certification. The rigorous program, which is paid for by the state for eligible teachers, takes educators approximately two years to complete.
Student Showcase: Middle School Speech Team
Six PPS middle schools implemented a new speech and debate program targeted at fourth graders to improve their oral communication, vocabulary, analytical writing and public speaking skills. The schools – Glen Oak, Harrison, Lincoln, Trewyn, Roosevelt and Sterling – are using a program developed by Bradley alumni Salvatore Trajino of Advantage Communications. The hope is that next year up to 350 students will participate. The PPS District Championship is Saturday, May 14 at Manual High School.
District Presentation: Woodruff Career & Technical Center Solar Panel Installation
Installation of 545 solar panels at Woodruff Career & Technical Center should generate more than 318,000kWhs and offset 226 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The construction process including roof updates began in 2019 and was funded by a $1.6 million award from the Edwards Power Plant. Contractor Ruyle estimates school district saving about $16,000 annually. Students in Woodruff’s Renewable Energy Program have been able to observe throughout the construction process, which has produced approximately 1,400 union job hours. Next semester students will monitor the solar panels, studying the energy production onsite.
The Consent Agenda, which can be found at https://peoriapublicschools.org/domain/57, was approved unanimously.
To see the meeting, go to the Peoria Public Schools YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFNu3PTGzEyjDH6qV7FKSnA.
Becky Doubleday, Observer
Peoria Park District Observer Report
Presentation of the Landen Memorial Volunteer Service Award was made to John Martin in recognition of his volunteer service since 1997 in the joint association of the PPD and the Peoria Irish Fest/ Erin Feis.
Presentation of the Rhodell E. Owens Distinguished Group Community Service Award was made to Kappa Alpha Psi.
Information Security Supervisor, Willie Howe, reported that over $10,000 was saved with revamping of the golf telephone system.
Chief of Park District police, Todd Green, commented on the job posting for one full time officer to bring up to to four, the number of officers needed.
During public comments, a member of the Center Bluff Coalition discussed the need for a shelter at Columbia Park. Staff will be following through with that request.
The last Springdale Cemetary Management Authority meeting minutes were included in the meeting packet and will be routinely included from now on.
Trustee Bright was absent. The meeting convened at 6:00 and adjourned at 7:05.
Peoria County Board
The Peoria County Board held its regular meeting April 14th with all present but Member Salzer and three members participating via phone-Members Bryant, Fennell, and Reliford. The meeting was brief—38 minutes.
Many proclamations began the meeting recognizing the following:
There were no Citizen’s Remarks.
The Consent Agenda passed on a vote of 17-0 without discussion. Most items were focused on regular financial matters. The employment agreement with County Administrator Scott Sorrell was amended following his performance review.
The regular agenda consisted of three items and all were approved.
Link to the meeting agenda and video are here:
Peoria City Council Observer Report
The Council meeting opened with the Township of Peoria Annual Meeting. LWVGP representatives, led by Janet Roth, read a statement regarding League plans for a study to examine transparency and efficiency of Peoria Township operations over the coming year.
In the regular meeting which followed, Councilors deferred a vote on approving a liquor license for Exposition Gardens to gather more information on the number of outdoor events, cut off times and comparison with other Class I licenses, such as Louisville Slugger Complex.
Video gaming fees were discussed. Interim Corporation Counsel Chrissy Kaputska reviewed city code: video gaming terminal fees set at $500 per terminal, equally split between local business and terminal operators, as well as $1,000 fee for terminal operators per machine. The Illinois legislature changed Video Gaming Act in December 2021 to require all fees shared equally between local business and terminal operators. The city is required to amend the current fee system. Ms. Kaputska spoke to the inconsistencies in State legislation regarding home-rule language and impact on establishing flat registration fee of $500. Concerns for small business were expressed, as well as how other municipalities were handling this and if there were alternative fee structures.
Councilors approved scheduled increase in City’s Sanitary Sewer Lateral Fee effective May 1, on a 7-3 vote; Councilors opposed were Denis Cyr, Zach Oyler and Sid Ruckriegel. City Manager Patrick Urich explained this increase is for properties serviced by the city-owned sewer system to fund repairs, maintenance and operations. Increase will be just over $.50 per quarter per property. This will allow the city to maintain the sewer system to meet standards in order to transfer jurisdiction to Greater Peoria Sanitary District. Council was reminded the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) funds were used for sewer improvement projects and the yearly Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) loan application and approval.
Note: agenda, video and minutes are available at peoriail.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Connie Romanus, Observer
The Peoria County Election Commission met on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, with Commissioner Burke absent. In his report, Director Tom Bride stated that almost all of the new voting system has been delivered. The printers had arrived, and the pollbooks were due in a few days. Staff is working on various processes, such as how to handle provisional ballots. Training will occur later this month, followed by a mock election with the judges. Tentatively, there will be an open house for the press and possibly the public. The Peoria office has been coordinating with DuPage County because they are the only other jurisdiction in Illinois using the same voting system.
During the discussion on whether to continue using prepaid envelopes for Vote by Mail, it was decided that the current supply would be used for the upcoming primary and general election.
New voting booths will not be available until July 1, due to a shortage of aluminum for the legs. Staff is looking to borrow booths from St. Louis County and/or Indiana, since they will have completed their primaries. Hopefully, the only cost will be for transportation.
At the State level, objections are still being handled. No voting bills were passed by the State Legislature this spring, but some may come up either in the veto session or next spring. Things that had been discussed include vote centers and pre-paid postage for vote by mail.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
All Board members were present. Announcements included: upcoming SAT’s and PSAT’s and Summer School signups.
Young Authors Competition Winners K-8 entries are shared through Peoria Public Schools social media channels.
Middle School Boys Basketball City Champions AJ Guyton presented the Championship team Roosevelt Rough Riders recognized for winning city middle school championship.
“We try to get these boys into a state of mind outside what they see on the streets” and work to get them prepared for college.
Presentations by audience seven people spoke. Among topics: free Little League, support for schools promoting democracy, upset with mask mandates (2), upset with school name changes, support for Accelerated Reader program which has been discontinued and using Covid money on truancy solutions.
Superintendent Dr. Kherat’s update:
1.Donations to Peoria Schools to date
2.Payment of bills
3.Payment for travel
5.License agreement with Jolt Foundation
6.Field trip approval Harrison
7.Field trip approval Washington
8.Extend the fuel purchase with Hoerr Petroleum
9.Purchase of five used buses
10.Peoria High varsity cheerleaders overnight trip
11.National model UN Club conference
Consent agenda items 5 and 9 pulled:
5. License agreement with Jolt Foundation for Harm Reduction with questions and details regarding: security for bringing the pilot to schools; professional medical office including Hep C finger stick, HIV swabbing, Narcan and Neloxone available. Will the school on-site program be open to anyone? Concerns about children being safe on site (clients must buzz in), loitering (hasn’t been an issue to date.) Hours will be 8-4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Located across the street from the Health Department. Passed unanimously.
9. Purchase of five used buses- paying a little less than half for the buses with reimbursements and they are gently used. Passed unanimously. They may have wi-fi.
Deliberation Agenda Expulsion agenda approved unanimously.
Becky Doubleday, Observer
Due to lack of quorum, the regular monthly meeting was not held. Next meeting of Board of Commissioners is scheduled for May 2, 2022. Meeting agenda available on website.
It is noted that a Special Meeting regarding approval of the CEO employment contract was held on March 31. Agendas are posted on website: https://www peoriahousing.org
Connie Romanus, Observer
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