Text sign showing Budget 2020. Conceptual photo estimate of income and expenditure for next or current year Stationary and paper sheets plus small arrows with globe on the wooden desk.

June is a big financial month for the city of Peoria.

Meetings will be heard on property taxes and the city’s budget.

“The city of Peoria’s fiscal year 2021 total property tax rate is proposed to stay the same as the prior fiscal year 2020 at $1.44 (per) $100 of assessed value,” said a release from the city.

On a Peoria home valued at $100,000, the Peoria property tax levy would be the same $144 next year as for this year.

While the secondary tax is being adjusted downward, the primary rate is increasing, which requires a tax-increase public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at  Peoria City Council Chambers, 8401 W. Monroe Street.

Meanwhile, after cruising along with steady growth for the last decade, Peoria—like many other cities around the world—hit a major speed bump with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a May 5 study session, Jeff Tyne, Peoria’s city manager, told the city council the 2020-21 budget he was proposing was “baseline level” with no tax increases, deferring utility-rate adjustments while “supporting council priorities.” 

The 2020-21 budget of $665 million is slightly more than the 2019-20 budget of $661 million. Even so, that represents a 33% leap from the 2016-17 budget of $497 million.

The budget for the general fund, the city’s primary operating fund, is $165.8 million, a 1.1% increase over last year. 

After tentatively passing a budget May 19, Peoria City Council will vote to officially adopt it at the 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, meeting.

The shutdown from mid-March through April ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey led to drastic falls in retail sales, particularly big-ticket items like cars and trucks.

“The budget we are proposing assumes steep revenue losses for the last quarter of fiscal year 2020 and into fiscal year 2021,” Tyne wrote, in an introduction to the budget. “For example, we are forecasting a 15% decline in sales tax revenues for fiscal year 2021.”

Peoria traditionally relies on sales tax to fuel nearly half of the city’s general fund, which covers police, fire and other essential services.

On July 1, 2019, Peoria had a general fund balance of $70 million. The projected general fund balance for June 30 is now just over $10 million.

Similarly, the Half Cent Sales Tax fund fell from $30 million July 1, 2019, to a projected $7 million at the end of June.

Last month, Andy Granger, a deputy city manager who oversees the Finance Department, told the Peoria Times, “We anticipate a significant drop in sales tax revenues over the next quarter.”

On Monday, he gave an update with the latest figures: 

“Our overall March sales tax revenues declined approximately 5% from March 2019.”

Earlier this month, Peoria City Council passed a tentative budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Granger called it a “baseline budget.”

“A baseline means little to no new ongoing spending, and budgeted expenditures will only occur if financial condition allows it,” he explained.

“In the meantime, departments are freezing any nonessential spending.”

Peoria City Council also voted May 19 to provide an extra $125,000 to TheaterWorks.