Peoria Could Pause Major Road Projects To Preserve Cash Flow

Sep 3, 2020

Major road projects on Sheridan, Allen, Glen, and Western would be paused under a proposal the Peoria City Council will consider at its next meeting.

According to City Manager Patrick Urich, the plan to freeze about $30 million in unspent capital projects would help the city’s cash flow for the rest of the year amid a budget crunch tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Freezing it really just means that we're suspending the projects between now and the end of this year,” Urich said. “So, it's really just a delay of these projects; it doesn't mean that we're taking these projects off.”

Other planned 2019 and 2020 capital expenses affected by the potential freeze include funding for the new Fire Department Station 4 on Western, equipment purchases, and facility-related improvements.

Council member Zach Oyler proposed the freeze during Tuesday’s special meeting, called to discuss closing the budget deficit. The council deferred action until the next meeting to give Urich time to specify exactly which projects would be suspended.

“When we look at our reserves, our cash reserves, many of those capital projects would come out of the reserves,” Urich said. “Basically, the cash is sitting there waiting to be spent on some of these projects.”

Urich noted the council previously approved a $21 million reduction in capital spending for 2020, but these projects would move forward after the proposed freeze is lifted.

“If we just froze that for 120 days, it helps us get through this year from a cash-flow perspective and really just defers those projects for that 120-day period,” he said.

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