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Released by: Alma Brown, Communications Manager, 494-8554, 453-4070
Subject: CITY ADDRESSES ECONOMIC NEWS
Peoria – As the national economy declines, and local businesses and families make financial sacrifices, the City of Peoria continues to prepare itself for any possible downturn in revenues. In early December, the City Council unanimously approved the budget for fiscal year 2009. This “maintenance budget” sustained service levels without raising taxes. The revenue projections that comprise the underpinnings of the budget were very conservative and reflective of the economic climate. The City’s finance staff has a long track record of correctly projecting revenues. Remarkably, especially in consideration of the national picture, 2008 revenues to date are generally 1% higher than estimated last year.
On the expense side, the 2009 budget made some realistic adjustments to operations that will save money. Each department made sacrifices, including the elimination of 3 positions. Some capital purchases and improvements have been delayed for one year. Reorganization of the City’s health benefits program has saved nearly $2 million.
“The 2009 budget process helped us lay the groundwork for better cooperation and planning,” says Mayor Jim Ardis. “The work is not yet done, though. Families in Peoria, especially in light of recent announcements from Caterpillar, are taking a hard look at their finances and deciding where they might need to make cuts. The City always looks to use tax dollars most efficiently, but those efforts will be re-doubled in the coming months.”
Beyond the measures taken during the budget process, the City is identifying a number of cost-cutting steps. Those steps include:
Instituting a sensible hiring freeze starting on January 1, 2009;
Implementing recommendations from a recently completed report by the Energy Efficiency Task Force that will reduce fuel and electricity costs;
Reducing the number of employee take-home cars; and,
Realizing a savings of approximately $150,000 in the City’s refuse collection contract.
In early January, at the direction of the City Council, the entire senior staff of the City will gather for a series of workshops that will identify further contingency plans to be enacted if revenues are depressed. The finance staff is constantly monitoring receipts in order to identify trends before they become realities.
Despite some negative news stories, there is also a good deal of positive news in Peoria. “Things really are better in Peoria,” added Mayor Ardis. “We certainly do not diminish the impact of recent announcements on area families and businesses, but considering the national economic climate, Peoria has been truly resilient.”
The Mayor pointed to a number of healthy signs, including the stability and affordability of the housing market, growth in the medical sector, and relative strength in the Peoria retail market. Further, a number of large construction projects, either in progress or planned, will help keep people employed. Those projects include Bradley University’s Athletic Performance Center, the expansions at Methodist Medical Center and OSF St. Francis Hospital, and the new terminal building at the Peoria International Airport. The recently approved Marriott Pere Marquette hotel project will create hundreds of other construction jobs in the coming months.
One key role of local government is to ensure the vitality of the economy, which is evidenced by the projects listed above and others. It is also the responsibility of the City’s leadership to be constantly monitoring its finances and adjusting and sacrificing when necessary. As stewards of the citizens’ resources, the Mayor, City Council and City staff will continue to live within its means while providing the best possible services to Peoria.
On December 8th, over 200 business leaders, media and general public listened intently as speakers shared their insights on the regional and national economic situation. The event, held at the Michel Student Center Ballroom on the Bradley University Campus, featured two economists from Bradley and Jim McConoughey, president of The Heartland Partnership.Click here to check out the presentations.
EDC is Now Soliciting Sites for Retail Study
The Retail Strategy Group for the EDC is about to launch a regional retail study. The EDC is in the process of accepting sites to be included in the upcoming study which will provide the information regarding retail potential for each targeted development/redevelopment site.
Click here for more information on the Retail Study.
The two largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in Illinois are Chicago to the north and St Louis to the south. But the composite area formed by the MSA's of Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield also form a significant metro area. The cost of doing business in our region is lower, housing is more affordable, and there are very few traffic delays. Small is beautiful.
MSA ______________Population_ Median Household
St. Louis, MO–IL _____ 2,603,607 __ _ __44,437
Heartland Composite _ 1,056,543__ _ _ _ 42,103
1. Heartland Composite includes non MSA Counties
Decatur, IL___________ 114,706______ 37,859
Peoria–Pekin_________ 347,387______ 42,986
Springfield___________ 201,437______ 43,180
The link below shows the
Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Illinois.
The blog below shows a larger Heartland including Danville and the Quad Cities, with about 1,700,000 people.
Gret new medical community investment the:
Illinois Medical Center
Long Term Acute Care Hospital
OSF Children’s Hospital
Methodist Hospital Expansion
Illinois Eye Center
Heart Care Midwest
Completed I-74 Reconstruction
Created a Public Private Partnership for a Full Service Marriott Hotel
Created the Hospitality Improvement Zone and Business District
Developed the Southern Gateway Plan
Developed the Eagle View aand Warehouse District Plans
Demolished Sears Block for Caterpillar Visitor Center and new Museum
Continued Commercial Expansion at Grand Prairie
Sustainable Development and Green Technology Commission formed
Developed the Innovation Center to Expand High Tech Businesses
Implemented the Renaissance Park and Heart of Peoria Plan
Developed Prospect and Sheridan Road Revitalization Plan
Expanded and improved the Enterprise Zone
Ten Tax Increment Financing District redevelopments underway
Three New School / Neighborhood Improvement Zones planned
Assisted the start up of Globe Energy, Drumheller Bag and Firefly
More Photos & Info
Printable version in Word on the link below:
That was the consensus of participants in a seminar Monday at Bradley University where 200 people gathered to hear about the national financial crisis.
Read about it at:
Renaissance Park http://www.renaissanceparkpeoria.com/
Rivers Edge Redevelopment Iniative http://riverssedgeredevelopmentiniative.blogspot.com/
River Trail Drive http://rivertraildrive.blogspot.com/