A balanced budget and a decrease in the annual property tax levy for 2021 gained unanimous approval from the Peoria City Council on Tuesday night, but continued discussion about placing an advisory referendum on the April ballot to address rising police and fire pension costs remains divisive.
One last change to Peoria’s budget for 2020 has been finalized, settling a lingering labor dispute and reversing a planned cut. But 2021 budget discussions to address COVID-19 shortfalls will wait another week.
An attempt to reverse the planned budget-related cuts of two Peoria Fire Department engines fell short Tuesday night, after the City Council unanimously agreed to issue $4 million in working cash bonds to keep the Peoria Civic Center afloat.
After more than two hours of discussion, the Peoria City Council narrowly voted down borrowing $10 million and decommissioning two fire engines to balance a city budget decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said Tuesday the city is still waiting on federal assistance to help address its budget shortfall from the COVID-19 pandemic, while at-large council member John Kelly said he doubts a real estate tax intended to help close the deficit would pass.