New Peoria budget is ready for public examination

Peoria Fire-Medical Department fire fighters put out a first-alarm condo fire near Peoria and 107th avenues. In budget talks for Fiscal Year 2020, the department is asking for funds that will pay for an ambulance, a fire rescue boat and medical supply machines in each fire station. [Chris Caraveo/Independent Newsmedia]

Total budget up 4% from last year

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

The city of Peoria has released its Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

City Manager Jeff Tyne said the total proposed budget of $685 million, which represents a 3.79 % increase over the previous year, maintains core citizen services and explores ways to enhance residents’ lives.

There will be no increases to taxes with a small increase to utility rates.

This budget gives priority to the safety and security of our residents and businesses, he said.

“State law requires that we have an identified revenue source for each one of our expenditures,” Mr. Tyne said. “But as you would come to expect, in the city of Peoria this is much more. We have developed a budget that is structurally balanced. There is an identified ongoing revenue source for every ongoing expenditure that we expect. So we are structurally sound by our estimates for the foreseeable future.”

The budget for the general fund, the city’s primary operating fund, is $163.8 million — a 6% increase over last year.

Included is a proposed $281.5 million capital budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which represents a 1.57% increase over the Fiscal Year 2019 plan, while the 10-year capital improvement program totals $751.3 million, a 2.8% increase from last year’s program.

The city has 1,250 employees and is asking for an additional 28 full-time employees. Eight of these will go to the parks and recreation department, partially to work the new Paloma Park, which is expected to breakground later this month. Eight will also go to public safety, largely to fund the city’s new ambulance fleet, and six to the public works department, which are funded by enterprise fees.

Police

About 31 percent of the city’s operating budget goes to the police department which is staffed by 304 full-time employees and has its own proposed budget of about $51 million.

Deputy City Manager Andy Granger said the police department goals are reduce crime and the fear of crime, operate with maximum efficiency and partner with the community to identify and solve problems. He said to accomplish those goals the department is asking for Fiscal Year 2020 budget funds for six new patrol vehicles and body worn cameras for public safety officers.

Other requests include new communications consoles for the 911 staff, as well as a new K9 vehicle and K9 officer, who is expected to retire in the next year.

Fire-Medical

About 23 percent of the operating budget goes to the Peoria Fire-Medical Department which is staffed by 220 full-time employees and has its own proposed budget of $38 million.

Mr. Granger said the department’s goal is to protect life and property, increase community awareness and preparedness, as well as operate the department to maximum efficiency.

He said to accomplish those goals the department is asking for Fiscal Year 2020 budget funds for a fifth ambulance, a fire rescue boat to replace the current one, which is 10 years old, as well as medical supply machines in each fire station for improved inventory tracking.

Other departments

The public works department is staffed by 169 full-time employees with its own proposed budget of about $51 million and is funded through the Highway User Revenue Fund and fees for service, as well as transportation sales tax. The department is asking for funds to operate the new POGO circulator, new vehicle routing software, drainage landscape maintenance, facilities enhancements and transit master plan.

The Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities department is staffed by about 130 full-time employees, with its own proposed budget of about $27 million.

The department requested Fiscal Year 2020 budget money to fund operations for the new Meadows Neighborhood Park, as well as contracted landscape maintenance and improved irrigation system efficiencies.

“The majority of what we are seeking here is going to go to staffing and the operations and management costs of the new Paloma Park. We have eight staff members we are going to bring on board. Everything from irrigation techs to park rangers to those who will go out into the park and supervise,” Deputy City Manager Erik Strunk said. “That is going to have a very positive impact, not only for that park when it is up and running, but for the department as a whole. It is going to help us immensely and we are very much looking forward to it.”

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697 or phaldiman@newszap.com. Follow him on Twitter @philiphaldiman.

 

Budget series
This article is the first of two articles detailing budgeting discussions for Peoria’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Next week’s article will feature projects proposed for the city’s 10-year capital improvement program.

Timeline
May 7: Capital improvement plan adoption and tentative budget adoption
May 21: Public hearing – Truth in Taxation and final budget adoption; public hearing and adoption of utility rates

 



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