The County of Peoria passed its 2005 Budget on 11/18/04 with no change in the estimated property tax rate. The owner of a $100,000.00 home should see either no change or a slight reduction in the county portion of his or her tax bill in May, 2005. While the budget is approximately five million more than last year, $1,750,000.00 comes from an increase in retirement funds and health care costs - 15% increase in health care premiums alone. Another $1 million in funding for probation and juvenile detention staffing that was cut by the State of Illinois. Right where we need it most!! Also, as a result of a new property tax relief law, many seniors will pay less taxes amounting to an estimated $850,000.00 meaning less revenue to the county.
Since Patrick Urich, County Administrator came on board in 2000; the County Board General Fund has improved from a minus$1,500,000.00 to an estimated $7,000,000.00 positive balance at the end of next year. The General Fund is mandated by law to be approximately equal to one month’s expenses.
Many changes have been made in the way Peoria County is run and these changes appear to be paying off. The county does take the responsibility of handling your tax dollars seriously. Our County Board Chairman states “the policies, procedures and the discipline of the board members have put the county in much better shape than a few years ago.”
I serve on 7 committees; the Illinois River Valley Council of Governments, Landfill, Growth Policy, Health and Environment, Judicial, Management Services and Tax/Economic Development. The county differs from the city by having a committee form of government with a County Board Chairman elected by the full board and an Administrator hired by the full board. Each committee meets once a month to determine an agenda for the monthly full board meeting. A summary draft of each committee meeting is mailed to all board members to review or question in advance of an Executive Committee (all committee chair people) session with the County Board Chairman and the Administrator.
This committee form of government allows all board members to be involved in several committees and most of the agenda is thoroughly discussed and studied before coming before the full board meetings. This results in an informed full board making decisions without a lot of controversy. In this way, we differ considerably than some other governmental bodies in Peoria County.
All meetings are open to the public except those that involve personnel or litigation.
Full board meetings are held the 2nd Thursday of each month on the fourth floor of the County Courthouse. Meetings start at 6:00 P.M. and are usually about an hour in length. Come visit.