Peoria City Council adopts 2-year budget that includes reinstating rescue squad

Peoria Fire Department
Peoria Fire Department(WEEK)
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:57 PM CST
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Peoria’s two-year spending plan unanimously adopted by the city council Tuesday includes spending just over $1 million to reinstate a rescue squad to improve response times.

The fire department will staff the rescue, operating out of Station 11, using overtime.

The action comes as the elected officials learned how much it would have cost to hire additional fire department staffing.

Hiring 11 firefighters would have cost about $2.1 million a year, while hiring seven firefighters would have cost about $1.5 million, said City Manager Patrick Urich.

Before the budget vote, the council rejected 2nd District Council Member Chuck Grayeb’s attempt to add money to hire a fourth painter in the public works department at a cost of almost $206,000 the next fiscal year and about $165,000 the following fiscal year.

The current public works staff can’t keep up with painting street lines and corroding light poles, said Grayeb.

“It seems like we just are behind the eight-ball with the current staffing,” Grayeb said.

Grayeb was able to convince just three other council members to agree to the hiring; Denise Jackson from District 1, Andre Allen from District 4 and Bernice Gordon-Young who is an at-large representative.

The city’s budget includes about $324 million dollars next fiscal year, and $287 million the following year.

Peoria plans to collect almost $30 million in property taxes next year to fund city operations. Its tax rate of $1.35 per $100 of assessed valuation is unchanged, according to city staff.