Taxpayers help the city make budget decisions

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PEORIA, Ill., — Monday’s budget outlook meeting encouraged resident participation to help city council create the budget.

Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich led the meeting at the Gateway building, where over 20 neighbors showed up ready to make their voices heard.

“You need to be a participant don’t just sit back and watch be active and we can change and be more progressive,” Lori Momberg of Peoria said.

Momberg joined other concerned community members to discuss the budget and how it will affect everyone in the city.

“We’re all here together, we all live together and we just need to make sure that Peoria is doing the right thing,” she said.

Urich explained the issues the city faces and is asking neighbors where the accrued money should be allocated.

The money the city uses for infrastructure, public safety, economy and livability along with other areas comes from several different taxes.

These taxes include property tax, sales tax, income tax, motor fuel tax and more.

To close the gap and replenish the general fund some of the taxes and fees must be increased. The motor fuel tax hike will allow Peoria to see a 1.4 million dollar increase.

Urich said he recommends the money received from the fuel tax goes directly toward fixing the roads.

He said these changes in the budget will increase revenue, but could cause the population in Peoria to decline and the property value to decrease.

During the meeting, Urich executed a priority exercise which provided the city council with the insight they need to make decisions.

“It was nice to see the input that they provided, I think people were very thoughtful and interested in the topic,” he said.

Residents were given a worksheet that provided them with only $100; they were required to allocate a specific amount of money to each category.

Categories included economic opportunity and livability, safety environmental health along with other priority areas.

This purpose of the activity was to help the council figure out what services need more attention.

Momberg said she the interactivity was very helpful.

“I think it’s great that we were able to be engaged and work with the exercises because I really feel like the city would listen to us as citizens to help pick our opinions and maybe use them,” she said.

“It’s really important that we hear from the citizens because these are their tax dollars and we have to be able to make sure to use those accordingly to their wishes,” Peoria City Councilman Sid Ruckriegel said.

“I would say that next year looks good I think that what we’re looking at is an achievable budget gap at this point in time in the year. We’re going to work with the council to come up with a spending plan that’s based on their priorities and priorities,” he said. “We’ve heard from the public tonight and we’re looking forward to jumping into it in earnest.”

Urich said he hopes the council will have a balanced budget done by the end of October.

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