Peoria City Council Observer Report
Wow. The Consent Agenda passed with no one removing an item. Of course there were only 4 items on that agenda. Short meeting – an hour and 17 minutes.
Recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission and Staff to ADOPT an ORDINANCE Amending Appendix A, the Unified Development Code, relating to short term rentals in all residential zoning was deferred until Aug 11.
Recommended 2020 - 2021 BUDGET RESTRUCTURING as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Council has provided direction to reduce capital programs by $26.7 million and restructure January 1, 2021 debt payments of approximately $10 million and the issuance of a $20 million line of credit and/or working cash bond. At the May 12th Council meeting, Council directed the Manager to come back with a recommended $10 million in operational cuts.
A total debt service package of $30 million would require additional resources to repay the debt. The additional $2 million needed to restructure debt could be absorbed by existing revenues, however the $20 million of working capital would need a repayment source. Assuming that source was property taxes, the increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 an additional $66.66 per year.
The recommended operating reductions which will result in service reductions include staff reductions of 94 employees, contractual and supply reductions of $3.3 million. The position reductions include 37 vacant positions across the organization and 57 positions that would be reduced by layoff.
Voluntary separation for firefighters with 20 years of service was deferred to Aug 11 ($25,000 incentive toward health insurance premiums for early separation if processed in August.)
The 50-year storm last week created havoc in Councilwoman Moore’s district. Homeowners have had issues of water backup into their homes.
Cheryl Budzinski, Observer
Peoria Park District Observer Report
(Peoria Park District 7-8-2020 meeting was cancelled.)
Peoria Park District (PPD) Observer Report of 7-22-2020 meeting:
The meeting was held both in person and through streaming ZOOM on the Peoria Park District Face Book Page.
Executive Director Cahill noted that July is National Parks and Recreation Month. To celebrate, PPD highlighted members of the staff on Facebook.
Trustees discussed a public hearing to be held on August 5 about the possible removal of the Christopher Columbus Statue in Laura Bradley Park. A Facebook live meeting will be held. An in-person option will be explored. The Planning Committee will discuss results on September 1 and the Trustees will receive a recommendation at its September 23 meeting.
During Other Business, Trustee Harant shared that the Peoria City/County Board of Health declared racism a public health crisis. She asked the Trustees to consider a position statement about the impact of racism. Following discussion, they decided to get additional information, including checking with other park districts’ statements. Trustee Harant also shared that a Task Force is being formed to address racism.
Farrell Davies, Observer
The Peoria County Election Commission held its July meeting with discussion, followed by approval of bids for two pieces of equipment that would be needed for the anticipated increase in mail-in voting. First was a system for ballot packing, sorting, and scanning. The one chosen will hold 500 at a time, time stamp them, and verify signatures by a ranking system that will aid election judges. The chosen vendor, Digital Copy Systems, was considered to be the cheapest and the best. An additional license can also be purchased for approximately $16,000. The system as approved costs $49,512. The other approved purchase was for ballot packet printing and mailing services. The commission staff recommended Rumbach because it had good references and a lot of experience. Printing 40,000 ballots and envelopes and mailing them will cost $33,120.
Further expenditures needed to comply with SB1863 include: on line ballot tracking for both the office and voters (app. $2500); PPE and cleaning supplies ($20,000); four ballot drop boxes for the office and early voting sites with infrared cameras, postage and extra judges ($312,000-315,000). Peoria County has received a grant of $335,000 which must be used for vote by mail. It will cover the extra expenses.
The Commission's attorney told the members that she had been contacted by the Attorney General's office about problems arising from the Open Meetings Act and the May and June meetings. They had not had proper notification, and a complaint had been filed by a member of the media. There would be no penalty, but things would have to change going forward.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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