Peoria City Leader consider raising property taxes to protect police, fire jobs

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria City Council to consider raising property taxes. This is an effort to retain employees in the public safety department.

Tuesday, council members discussed the Fire Protection Tax and the Police Protection tax. Under Illinois State law city council can establish a tax levy for police and fire protection. The city is allowed to implement a rate of up to 0.075% without a referendum, but the public will be given an opportunity to give input. Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said this is 7.5 cents. The most money it can generate is $1.5 million.

Urich said the city does not have enough money to pay for current employees. This tax levy would help the city sustain police officers and firefighters.

The tax levy can be increased by up to 0.6% with a referendum. A decision will not be made without input from Peoria residents.

Councilman Tim Riggenbach talked about the significance of retaining first responders.

“None of us and I think I can say that with 100% confidence, want to belittle the work and dedication of our firefighters and police officers,” Riggenbach said. He said police officers, firefighters and other city employees are working as hard as ever.

Councilwoman Beth Jensen said shared her disdain in regards to the tax levy consideration, especially after 22 firefighter positions were cut.

“I’m quite angry that we’re considering it now after we’ve made these terrible cuts and decimated our fire department,” Jensen

No decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting, but council members plan to get feedback from the community.

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