PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For the third time in three weeks, the Peoria City Council will meet to hash out details regarding next year’s budget.
As some are out trick or treating to get some sweets and candy, councilmembers will debate and discuss numbers that total to $321 million of expenses for next year’s budget which should be approved at the council’s Nov. 14 meeting.
For the second straight week, those around the Horseshoe got their questions answered by city staff who diligently produced tables, charts and graphs that detail the city’s fiscal landscape.
One chart detailed how the city spends its reserves; a major factor in this year’s budget. Previously, City Manager Patrick Urich said the city planned to spend $30 million out of its reserves, mostly for stormwater and road work, as part of a “planned drawdown” of those funds.
“This was done in lieu of the City issuing debt for capital spending,” according to a memo sent to the council.
Overall, City Hall expects to spend just less than $322 million in 2024, a 5.4% increase from 2023. that includes both roadwork, sewer and also day to day things like manning fire stations, plowing streets and have police officers on the streets.
To offset that, the city brought in $291 million in revenue which doesn’t include the grants and the federal COVID money and doesn’t include the $30 million it used from its savings account.
Council members also learned how much money, in theory, they can borrow if necessary. Another memo, sent to the council, said that back in August 1998, the council at the time set a limit of 10% of the current EAV as the maximum Peoria could borrow.
That means for this council, their limit is $211.4 million and don’t worry, there’s little political will to borrow that much or to take more debt. Currently, City Halls about $30 million in outstanding general obligation debt which doesn’t include roughly $125 million they also owe.
That’s because that higher number includes “alternate revenue source debt” which has an additional pledged revenue and thus, does not count against the debt limit.
After this week, council members will hold a public hearing on Nov. 7 which is required as the levy — the amount of money the city takes in due to property taxes — went up 7%. Under state law, if the levy increases by more than 5%, then a public hearing must be held.
But that increase wasn’t due to an increase in the property tax rate which is the amount of money the city charges based upon property values. Rather, it’s because that value, known as equalized assessed valuation — went up, which in turn leads to City Hall’s coffers getting a bit more full.
The final vote will likely come the following week.