Pekin Passes $61M Budget, Small Business Grants

May 4, 2020

The city of Pekin passed a balanced $61.2 million budget - but not without some major cutbacks due to COVID-19.

To fill an estimated $4.8 million shortfall, Pekin is deferring major capital projects, freezing wages for non-union employees, cutting back on employee training, and leaving positions vacant for several months.

City manager Mark Rothert said Pekin's tax revenues were negatively affected by COVID-19 just like other communities.

"Ultimately, at the end of the day, we do have to sustain the city's financial sustainability and undertake measures that will secure that going forward," he said.

Rothert said the council will likely be asked to reopen and amend the budget later in the year as the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic become more clear.

The city of Pekin is also approving more than $360,000 in small business assistance grants.

Pekin has up to $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A second round of applications will begin this week.

Mayor Mark Luft said this second round will also allow barbershops and beauty salons to receive the full $5,000 amount. Many are technically sole proprietorships only eligible for $2,000 each.

"The way most of these barbershops and salons are set up, there's basically one employee who's the owner. The other people in that salon, who are not actually considered employees, rely on that salon being open to maintain an income and to perform their jobs," Luft said.

Fifty-eight businesses made it through the first round. City Manager Mark Rothert said the first eight could receive funding as soon as Tuesday. Another 50 are still awaiting more information from the federal government.

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