Peoria City Council approves license requirements for tire businesses, hoping to address illegal dumping

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria city council members are taking the first steps to tackle the city’s tire issue.

During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, city leaders approved an ordinance that would require any person, organization, company, or business that sells, barters, or exchanges any type of tires to have a license from the city.

It would also apply to anyone, organization, company, or business that “fixes, replaces, or disposes of tires as part of a transaction or on behalf of other tire businesses.

The ordinance passed in a 7-4 vote, without a fee for businesses.

Joe Dulin, Assistant Community Development Director, said this measure would allow the city to start tracking the flow of tires and hopefully start cracking down on the city’s, more than a decade-long, illegal dumping issue.

“While we understand that a lot of the businesses aren’t the ones causing the problem, this should allow us to see exactly who they hand off the tires to, see if they hand them off again,” Dulin said. “And eventually from that kind of point A to when they meet, go into a tire facility or tire recycling facility out of the area, to be able to audit and track those records.”

Tire-related businesses have to keep detailed records of tire disposals and allow the city to audit them. They also have to agree not to dispose of tires at any location other than an approved ILEPA/EPA facility or agree to use a licensed City of Peoria Tire Business if contracting out disposals.

The ordinance as a whole wasn’t really the main topic of discussion Tuesday night, but rather the idea of charging tire businesses an annual $50 registration fee for the license, which would go towards paying for the extra time and effort the city’s staff would devote to this.

City manager Patrick Urich said this ordinance would add an additional workload on the city’s finance, legal, and community development staff.

“There are three departments that are touched by this as we would move forward with managing this type of ordinance if we’re writing tickets, if we’re sending somebody to our administrative hearing officer, or if they’re going to court,” Urich said. “There’s time and expense that is incurred by the city for this, and we felt that $50 was an appropriate fee to establish.”

Councilmembers John Kelly, Denis Cyr, Zach Oyler, Kiran Velpula, Sid Ruckriegel, Tim Riggenbach all voted to pass the ordinance without a fee.

Some members agreed the fee wouldn’t help the financial aspect much and would rather cause more strain on businesses.

“There’s going to be additional work, some tracking, and bookkeeping work on the part of these operators, so they’re going to incur some additional expense just by complying with the ordinance,” Riggenbach said. “So, rather than burdening them with another registration fee on top of it we thought, the majority of us at least thought, it would be appropriate to not have that fee since we’re requiring them to do some extra work.”

Councilmembers Andre Allen, Chuck Grayeb, Denise Jackson, And Beth Jensen were in favor of the ordinance but voted against it without adding the $50 fee.

Jensen said it was a necessary fee to compensate for the additional work the city’s staff.

“The fee was actually put in place at the direction of the council at our last meeting because we wanted to make sure that the program would be covered in the extra cost it’s going to be to the city,” Jensen said. “We constantly give the city staff more and more things to do, and we keep cutting and cutting the city staff. So I just wanted to make sure there was a fee in place to cover the costs.”

The proposal also reads “any person found guilty of violating, disobeying, neglecting, resisting, or opposing the enforcement of any of the provisions of this article, except when otherwise specifically provided, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $750.00 nor more than $5,000.00 per violation.”

Dulin said there would be about 30-60 days of outreach to businesses before any implementation.

“We’ll make sure to walk through the process with them, educate them on what is required, what we’ll look for, and then really wait until we get everyone in place before any kind of enforcement would take place,” Dulin said.”

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