Saturday, June 20, 2009

Symptoms of the Recession in Peoria

I drove north out Allen Road last week and turned into the entrance to Augusta Estates.This once gated community is now "gateless". Could it be because 8 out the first 9 houses I saw were for sale? Wonder if the property taxes on these "for sale" properties have been reduced?

I do a lot of wondering these days especially as I wind down my last term as a member of the Peoria County Board. Particularly I reflect on a quotation attributed to recently deceased philanthropist, Bill Rutherford, "You know, most people live like a bug on the surface of the water. They never look too deeply at anything. They don't think enough. They ask too few questions. Worse, they don't care".

I wonder how the Journal Star tomorrow is going to report on the financial distress at Peoria County. Bel-Wood costs county property tax payers close to $4 million out of the $25 million property taxes projected to be collected from county property owners this year. Back in 2003, in the April General Election, yes it was the only General Election that year, only 25% of the registered voters came out to vote and approximately 10,000 voted to MAINTAIN Bel-Wood as the promotional hype was that the poor would have no place to go if BW closed. Now in today's JS, comes a Dave Weiman (no listing for him in the phone directory) who says his group "has not taken a position" on building a new BW, but he has recommended a concept called Green Houses, where 12 elders would live in a small, home like structure on a landscaped campus...." What Mr. Weiman leaves out that all "Green Houses" that have been built or in the process of some type of planning or development, are either privately funded or funded by religious groups.

Sure, as I advised the County Board at Friday's special meeting to discuss how to handle our financial distress, keep sticking the property tax payers in Peoria and wondering "Where is Everyone Going" "Census Report Shows Peoria County Loses Population...'., JS 6/18/09.

Whike we were discussing ways to reduce costs, Democrat Bud Sous was asking how the county can raise revenues. Way to go, Mr. Sous. Bud is a city fireman with the prospect of a "substantial" pension. And Republican Carol Trumpe was saying "now that Bel-Wood is making a profit.....".

Good grief.

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