Never have I agree more with the JSEB and their editorial on October 28. A while back, Mayor Ardis has talked about drinking tne Kool-Aid in the past. Spend an ESTIMATED #106 million for track, etc. and another $28 million for additional equipment purchases plus an ESTIMATED $2.6 yearly (and growing)operating budget?
For MAYBE 75,000 people count trips a year. Ardis is listening too much to Ray LaHood who I thought might have come up with a winner in a four lane highway to Rt. 80 around Chillicothe when the engineers at a meeting I attended said the cost would be $300 million compared with a direct route that the JSEB supported costing $800 million. Within ONE year, the engineers re-estimated the cost thru Chili and Hennepin to be $600 million and later even more. When they went over $300 million, they lost me.
But the consultants and the engineer keep making a LOT of money on all thes plans, like the ring road plans, the maps now grown dusty at the EDC while new "studies" by engineers and consultants" are now in progress. And in a state that is close to bankruptcy.
This mayor and city council may go down as one of the worst in Peoria's history with round-abouts, a warehouse district that will greatly enrich a 2-3 developer, some favored consultants and engineers, more consultants and more engineers, a new Equal Opportunity Training Center in the planning stage, a high risk on an expanded downtown hotel with an ESTIMATED $6.1 million runway connected to a Civic Center that lost $4 million plus last year, an expenditure of approximately $50 million, (includes the cost of borrowed money) on the still-in-progress city library system, an "iffy" museum that 50% of the voting population said they didn't want downtown, Cubs Food, more hiking and biking trails, uncompleted despite the Peoria Park District statements that they have the funding, a rising garbage fee and some want to re-visit buying the water company,and I'm out of breath.
Oh yes, a large budget deficit that maybe the new city manager who left his position as Administrator of the County Board (on which I served 10 years) in a relatively strong financial position, may help them out somewhat.
I say somewhat because he doesn't have quite the power at the city that he had at the county.
Yeah, cha-ching is right. I again quote Don Axt who aptly named Peoria a number of years ago as "Dreamsville" and predicted a baseball World Series between Peoria and Rockford. (Pete Vonachen's baseball team drew 188,000 or so last year, slightly more than they drew at their old Meinen Field location.
Since so much of the money to support the city come from local taxes, it might be interesting to some of you to see what councilpeople and mayor and and city manager pay in, say, property taxes.
And yes, all of those who complain about lack of security and voted or supported all this "stuff", I remind you that our city police chief said the money spent on the libraries alone would have allowed him to put twenty five, that's right, 25 additional officers on the streets of Peoria. Anyway enjoy the cha-ching. It's just borrowed money. Some of it might even be imported from China.
And another oh yes. Whatever happened to the $5 million That Governor Quinn was en route to Peoria to present to the museum? Good question. Also, I note the museum is rather mum on financing except to say the 'BUILDING' IS ON BUDGET. Of course it is. It's spending the quarter cent sales tax amounting, at the time being, to $41 million+ of the overall estimated $90 million.
What about the under-funded endowment??