PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — By a unanimous vote, the Peoria City Council approved its budget for next year.

The River City’s 2024 budget totals $324.4 million and the estimated budget for 2025 is $287 million. A few years ago, the city started to approving budgets as two-year plans with the second year being an “educated guess.” The idea was to get a better handle on how things were going fiscally.

The council voted 10-0 for the budget. Fifth District Denis Cyr was absent.

The $324 million — a record for the city — is about $3 million more than previously reported. That’s due, in part, to the council approving last week to spend a bit more than $1 million for two additional firefighters that would man a rescue squad vehicle.

City Hall has said previously that the lower amount for 2025 is due to a a planned spenddown of reserves next year for capital projects. Also, the reduction is due to the city spending the last of its COVID-19 relief money this year as well as an anticipated reduction in some grant money.

Those around the Horseshoe noted the high price tag and long discussions to get to the”yes” votes.

At-Large Councilman Zach Oyler said during the meeting, “I think I’ve been a nay the last several years. I do have heartburn with the size of the budget, and we’re going to have to be very cautious over the next few years as some of the things roll off like the COVID Assistance Relief Funds.”

Councilmembers also took the time to thank city staff for presenting budget proposals in a timely and readable format.

Other notable items approved were for new intersection work on Pioneer Parkway and University that includes new sidewalks, new pavement, new traffic signals, and a bike path. Construction begins this coming spring.

In addition, a new Peoria Police initiative called the “Know More No More” campaign was approved. The campaign is part of the Peoria police website’s transparency goals and is used to view information on crime, crime statistics, and resources.