Peoria City Council approves 2013 budget with surplus, adds positions

By Audrey Williams

October 30, 2012 Updated Oct 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The Peoria City Council has passed a 2013 budget with a projected surplus for the first time in more than five years.

Peoria citizens won't be paying anything less in property taxes but also won't see any major fee increases.

Tuesday night, council members were faced with two very similar budget options. The difference was one called for a two cent decrease in the original property tax rate, which would have also decreased a relatively small surplus.

"I think this is a good step forward to indicate that what we care about in the city of Peoria is making an attractive community for investment. And however small this amount is, I think it's a good gesture," said At-Large Councilman Ryan Spain.

However, others including At-Large Councilman Eric Turner, believe the small amount of money is not worth the gesture when the economy remains uncertain.

"We haven't raised taxes in over 14 years. So to give away anything, this is not the time to do it. The long term cumulative effects of this would be negative on this community and we'll pay the costs," said Councilman Turner.

Ultimately, the council voted 8 to 2 to not lower the property tax rate and pass a budget totaling $188,796,847.

The budget also allows the addition of 8 city positions, including 5 in the police department.

Several council members called it the best budget they have seen in their time on the city council.

City Manager Patrick Urich calls it a conservative spending plan.

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