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Peoria City Council discusses how to spend $47 million in COVID-19 relief money

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Tuesday night Peoria City Council gave input on the usage of the American Rescue Plan Fiscal Recovery Funds. City Manager, Patrick Urich, laid out what can and cannot be done with the $47 million dollars.

Urich said there were six places the money can go, support public health response, address negative economic impacts, replace public sector revenue loss, premium pay for essential workers, plus water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

First though, a plan to borrow $10 million for city operations next year, appears unnecessary now.

"I'm hoping that all my colleagues will see it the same way that I'm seeing it, that we will not have to borrow," said 5th District Councilman, Denis Cyr.

There are some things the money can't be spent on, including, lowering the tax rate, pension costs, rainy day funds and legal settlements, judgements or debt services.

4th District Councilman, Andre Allen, said he wanted to make sure this money goes back to the fire and police departments.

"Public safety is a priority of mine, it's a priority of this council. We need to make sure we are giving our tax payers a return on their investment," said Allen.

Urich said he wanted everyone to remember this is temporary money, and not to create a fiscal cliff when it runs out.

"It's very difficult to have a good decision where all 11 of us are in agreement," said Cyr.

"I would urge the council, if I leave you with nothing, act decisively and act quickly, not foolishly. You know what the needs are," said 2nd District Councilman, Chuck Grayeb.

Recovery funds must be spent and all work performance must be completed by December 23rd, 2026.

Paige Blanzy

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