In the face of declining revenue, Peoria city staff has proposed a net cut of 11 workers to help balance the 2018 budget.
At last Tuesday night’s council meeting, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union spokesman Tim Lavelle asked the council to review the effectiveness of past personnel cuts.
“We would ask the city council to consider thinking outside the box and look at all the services that have previously been performed by AFSCME members to see if those projected savings were realized,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle says the number of AFSCME members has been cut from 201 to 116 in the last seven years.
There are at least two Peoria City Council members who are not ready to cut a fire truck from service as part of tightening the city budget.
City staff has recommended cutting fire truck 14, which is housed at the fire station along Northmoor Road. It would save more than a million dollars from next year’s budget.
Councilman Jim Montelongo says that would reduce firefighting capability to just one truck in that area. “The number of public facilities we have, both churches, schools, senior living places, right there on Northmoor. I don’t understand I guess how that would make sense to decommission that truck.”
Councilman Chuck Grayeb was more direct in his criticism of the proposed cut. “I will not vote for any budget that decommissions a fire engine. I’m laying my cards on the table tonight.”
The council is scheduled for a final vote on the 2018 budget in November.
The Peoria City Council approved two recreational projects.
The council first annexed property at Grange Hall Road and then approved a special use for an outdoor facility with mini-golf, dune buggies and go-carts.
Community development director Ross Black says the developer has agreed to limit noise levels to 85 decibels at 50 feet. “It’s 900 feet from this subject property to the closest residential properties which are in unincorporated Peoria County. They’re not in the city of Peoria.”
The council also approved funding for an indoor recreation complex at 927 SW Washington in the Warehouse District.
Assistant city manager Chris Setti says the city will use Tax Increment Financing money to loan the developer $360,000. “Taking a look at what we believe their future property taxes will be and then providing them with, rather than a rebate year after year, an advance upfront.”
Setti says the incremental increase in property taxes will be sufficient to pay back the city’s advance.