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Peoria releases draft budget with nearly 10% increase in operating costs

The Peoria City Council has released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2025. The $995 million package includes a nearly 10% increase in operating costs. 

According to deputy finance director Peter Christensen, rising health-care costs were a big factor. 

“We do have an 8.6% increase in our health insurance premiums for both the city and its employees. This is quite a bit bigger than we’ve seen in the last two to three years, but it is not unexpected. And it’s not a surprise with the inflation we’ve seen across all other categories of spending,” he said.     

Christensen also said pay increases for all city workers are part of the rise in costs, along with allocations for improving public safety, economic development and water security.

According to a release from the city, below is a breakdown of budget initiatives. Tentative budget and CIP adoption is scheduled for the City Council’s May 7 regular meeting. Final budget adoption is planned for the May 28 regular meeting. The public is encouraged to comment.

Public safety: To maintain a safe community, public safety is the largest component of the city’s General Fund Budget.

  • This operational budget includes funding for a police sergeant, seven police officers, six civilian police positions, and four full-time benefited civilian investigative specialists. The civilian investigative specialists are part of a three-year pilot program.
  • Increased funding for contract personnel, training, specialized services, and vehicles will enhance proactive policing efforts.
  • Public safety CIP includes $20.1 million for a joint fire-medical public safety facility in the Vistancia area, as well as $19.1 million for a police evidence facility.
  • The FY25 CIP also includes several projects to expand, rehabilitate, and improve public safety facilities.
  • The Fire-Medical Department’s budget includes 15 new positions to staff the joint fire-medical public safety facility.
  • The budget also includes two new positions to upgrade the Low Acuity Unit to a Medical Response Unit.
  • To enhance fire-medical services, the budget provides additional funding for supplies, vehicles, and training.

Economic development: A vibrant, diversified economic base and quality jobs are essential to a community’s quality of life.

  • Through the development agreement with Amkor Technology, which represents a $2 billion multi-phase investment in Peoria, adding 2,000 local jobs, the city will reimburse up to $3 million in infrastructure.
  • The CIP includes a $14.8 million carryover to continue revitalization efforts in Downtown Peoria in FY 2025.
  • Ongoing funding support to continue the airport feasibility study along with funding for capital projects to connect Lake Pleasant Parkway to future industry in the area.

Water security: The proposed budget funds projects to support Peoria’s safe and assured water supply.

  • On the operational side, the Water Services budget includes additional funding for water supply, three new positions, chemicals, electricity, specialized services, and equipment.
  • $112.2 million of FY24 carryover which includes completing the wellfield/booster pump station at Lake Pleasant Parkway/CAP, the reclaimed water line from Jomax to Beardsley, and the SRP/CAP interconnect Facility. Supply chain issues delayed some of these projects.
  • The water/wastewater 10-year $737.6 million CIP funds new major plant expansions, contributes to the Bartlett Dam and reservoir expansion project, and plans for an advanced water purification treatment plant.

Innovative government:

  • Operations funding for the Real Time Crime Center and new finance enterprise resource planning software will increase service efficiencies.
  • Tracking 80 key performance indicators will support operational improvements throughout the organization.
  • $5.3 million in CIP for park refresh across the city and $3.5 million for Pioneer Park enhancements and $7 million for upgrades to Rio Vista Recreation Center and Community Park.
  • $56.7 million in 10-year CIP for pavement preservation and $18.2 million for major pavement rehabilitation projects to extend pavement life.
Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.