Peoria City Council Observer Report
The Peoria City Council met July 13, 2021 with all Council members present except John Kelly.
City Manager Urich informed Councilors that a public engagement survey would be posted on the city’s website to invite residents to give input on how the city should spend remaining state and local Coronavirus relief funds.
The city was awarded $47,089,976, with $10,301,585 spent in June to eliminate need to issue cash bond and curtail furloughs for city employees. Three public hearings will be scheduled, as well, for public input with one being virtual. Dates for public hearings are:
July 26 at 6 p.m. live streamed on city u-tube channel;
August 1 at 6 p.m. at Peoria North Branch Library; and
August 12 at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Branch Library.
In addition, paper copies of the survey will be available at all Peoria Library locations. The survey will be available until 5 p.m. August 19. City Manager Urich will give an update on public input at the August 24 meeting. Funds must be committed to specific projects by the end of 2024 and funds spent by end of 2026.
Interim Corporation Counsel Peterson updated councilors on additional measures and consequences for tobacco, liquor and retail gasoline dealer licenses due to rise in violence at some businesses. Among the options are fines, suspension or revoking licenses. The council also discussed consequences on license holders for unpaid fines, and the effect proposed changes would have on majority of license holders who are not a cause for concern. The Council will discuss this issue again at the July 27 meeting.
Panhandling and solicitation concerns were addressed next. Councilor Grayeb thanked legal department staff for research on Federal law regarding these two issues. He referred to existing laws that would prevent pedestrians from standing in the street and that the city and police should work on plan to enforce these laws. Discussion included motivations for increase in panhandling, as well as, how this could affect local non-profit groups and safety issues of pedestrians. First Amendment rights and enforcing existing laws was concern. Counsel Peterson clarified that the Supreme Court has looked at panhandling and public safety as separate issues and gave examples of two municipalities addressing prohibition of pedestrian traffic at specific locations based on local data related to collision reports and statistics. A change in ordinance would prohibit all pedestrian traffic at specified intersections and would need to be enforced for all citizens equally. The council voted to receive and file the report.
Connie Romanus, Observer
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