Board grapples with budget shortfall
Peoria County officials are reporting a $1.2 million budget deficit, citing revenue shortfalls as the reason, including a potential loss of $1.8 million in income tax revenue. The county’s chief financial officer said the county will need to look at a property tax increase because other revenue sources, such as sales taxes and county fees, are dwindling when costs are expected to increase. Eric Dubrowski reported to the County Board that the county’s cash reserves could be down to $10 million by 2020. Other officials said the county needs to consider alternate scenarios before looking at a property tax increase right away. The county had $1.7 million in unexpected expenditures last year.
Boys basketball finals to stay in Peoria
The Illinois High School Association board of directors voted unanimously March 21 to keep the boys high school state basketball finals in Peoria through 2020. At the same time, the board also agreed to keep the girls state finals in Normal for the next five years. The boys’ finals have been held at Carver Arena in Peoria since 1996, after being held in Champaign for more than 70 years. Redbird Arena at the Illinois State University has hosted the girls’ finals since 1992.
Schools face more budget problems
Proposed state budget cuts could mean a $1million funding loss for Peoria School District 150, which is already in an $11.5 million deficit spending situation. The funding cuts could increase the district’s deficit by 10 percent, the superintendent reported last week. Most of Illinois’s public school districts are facing some sort of funding deficit.
High school student expelled after child porn charges
Morton High School has expelled a student who has been charged with 22 counts of possession of child pornography. The student allegedly used the school’s wireless network to gain access to a Dropbox account where he stored the content. Dustin A. Brown, 18, of 300 E. Fernwood St. was indicted March 19 by a Tazewell County grand jury. He’s free on $125,000 bond.
Man indicted on robbery charges
A Peoria County grand jury March 24 indicted a Peoria man on charges stemming from a gas station hold up earlier in the month. Todd L. Johnson, 44, of 1810 N. New York St. is charged with armed robbery and aggravated robbery in connection with the robbery at a gas station at 1930 W. Forrest Hill Ave. on March 10. Johnson was identified by a witness in the neighborhood, according to police.
Aldermanic candidate drops out of race
Tim Ladd, a candidate for Fourth Ward alderman, has decided to withdraw from April 7 municipal elections. His name however, will remain on the ballot, according to the Peoria County Clerk’s Office. The Ward 4 race was the only contested seat in the upcoming election. Ladd said his work hours were recently changed to make it difficult to perform duties as alderman. He works with Acom at Caterpillar.
Survey shows city’s business community steady
The city’s top employers are reporting steady employment in a comparison from 2014 to this year, based on a survey conducted by the Times Bulletin. City officials say while it is good news that no major cuts are planned, there are also no immediate plans to expand the current workforce. Chillicothe’s top employers are Illinois Valley Central District 321, MediaCom, Heritage Enterprises, J.T. Fennell Co., and Bre Mid America (McDonald’s), according to the survey.
Council reviews draft of food truck ordinance
The City Council on March 24 took a first look at a proposed ordinance that would regulate food trucks operating downtown. An ordinance regulating food carts is already in place but the new ordinance would divide the number of trucks and carts allowed to operate. At present, there are reportedly 13 “mobile food vehicles” allowed to operate downtown. In addition to debating where to allow food trucks to operate, council members have reportedly raised issues about health inspections, fees and proper sales transactions.