PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis was granted emergency powers during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Leaders voted unanimously to allow Ardis to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. He will now be allowed to make decisions without city council approval.
With new authority, the mayor will be able to establish a curfew, close liquor stores, discontinue the selling of firearms, and limit access to public buildings among other things.
Before the emergency powers were granted, Councilman John Kelly motioned to defer approval of the agenda item to the next council meeting, which failed.
“Don’t know that it’s wise to do this,” Kelly said.
He said there were many instances in history of mayors abusing power. The emergency powers will allow Mayor Ardis to make quick decisions without approval from the entire council.
Kelly said is opposed to being left out of decisions and adds that he thinks council is making an error.
Councilman Zach Oyler was not adamant about approving the emergency powers Tuesday either.
“It’s no emergent situation for us to pass this tonight,” Oyler said.
Councilman Chuck Grayeb said emergency powers are used for times like this and touted the agenda item’s approval.
Councilman Sid Ruckriegel, also pushing for approval, said it is about the action taken that makes a difference between life and death. “It’s about making the right decision at the right time,” he said.
While some city council members expressed their discomfort with being left out of the potential decision making process, Peoria city manager Patrick Urich said it is time for them to take a step back.
In a state of emergency, the role of the policy makers are to step said and let the professionals you hire to step in and perform responsibilities and roles on behalf of the city.Patrick Urich, Peoria City Manager
These emergency powers have only been extended until the next regularly or specially scheduled city council meeting.
Council also approved a plan to help Red Carpet Carwash on Glen Avenue.
Dangerous conditions shut down the business more than a month ago. City leaders said the problem is the stormwater drain under the property.
Leaders voted to approve paying half the cost of its replacement, but not more than $400,000.
Urich said construction could start in the next few months.