Peoria County board searching for solutions of $33M revenue shortfall

Business News

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Faced with a $33 million revenue shortfall over the next three fiscal years due to the economic effects from COVID-19, Peoria County elected officials are now searching for answers.

The fluid conversation aims to not put the financial strain on taxpayers’ backs.

During Wednesday’s Peoria County budget committee meeting, officials talked long term fixes not band-aids to a multi-million dollar revenue shortfall preferring to stay away from any sort of tax increase.

“We’re looking at the next 24 months, which is a three-year cycle,” said Board Vice Chairman Jim Fennell. “We’re estimating somewhere around $30-$33 million loss of revenue.”

The forecasted breakdown of the shortfall amounts to $33 million over three fiscal years is $16.7 in 2020, $10 mil in 2021, and $6.3 mil in 2022.

Peoria’s County Administrator Scott Sorrel proposed an original plan of cuts, borrowing and dipping into reserves.

“I’m really hard-pressed to say we deplete [rainy day funds]without a plan for at least building them back up,” said Fennell. “We may look at different options of taking out some notes or something to keep cash flow, almost like a line of credit.”

“If you make the adjustments, and adjustments is another word for layoffs, reductions in force, reductions in service, if we don’t make those adjustments now, the problem gets more expensive,” said Board Chairman Andrew Rand.

Rand said Thursday he’s not counting on the federal government for a bailout.

“I don’t know what else you can reasonably expect the federal government to do that we shouldn’t be doing for ourselves and since that would only be a temporizing measure anyway,” said Rand. “The hard choices come up to local policymakers and the local level.”

The budget committee reconvenes next week to discuss which direction to go. Then decisions will be made by the full county board.

Watch the full board meeting below:

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