As the clocks fall back, it is time to look to our future.
The Council must settle the EPA lawsuit and carve out a responsible spending plan to carry our City forward. The budget should fund what YOU want. One of my predecessors spoke often of the primacy of core or basic services. Councilman Sandberg even opined that most folks don’t mind paying taxes if they can see a palpable and meaningful difference in their neighborhoods and lives. I agree wholeheartedly.
As we move forward with the balancing of the budget, we must look to public safety first. Police, Fire, and Public Works absorb most of the money, as you would expect. But building and environmental codes, IT, and all ancillary support positions are vital as well. Our City has shed hundreds of jobs over the past decade. The City is making do with less. But… we dare not jeopardize lives by cutting the basic services any deeper.
Soon the ice and snow will return. Make no mistake about it — those big yellow trucks which fight the elements and rebuild our infrastructure are critical as well.
I have long felt that I was fortunate to be a Peorian and I feel the same now. I have had a great deal of confidence in most budgets we have carved out in my seventeen years on the Council. I will fight hard to reflect your values and work for a budget which has a human face— a budget which does not stop all the progress WE have made together in District Two.
An additional issue of great concern to me is the amount of litigation still unresolved, which existed when the City was self-insured. A successful wrongful imprisonment claim can make our 7.9 million dollar shortfall look like a picnic in the park.
My other great worry is the action of a malignant player which often cannot be predicted. Our police work hard to preempt criminal conduct but no one knows when the next outrageous act will be committed. This uncertainty extends throughout our troubled world. As your Councilman, I am working with our authorities to identify threats in the neighborhoods and shutter malignant properties before they damage us. Our Neighborhood Service Unit is designed to preempt problems and alert property owners of their responsibilities under our laws.
We will continue to rebuild our West Bluff and our City, and I remain cautiously optimistic that the Brownstone Development on Moss is viable and will be great for all of us. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving as we enter a beautiful holiday season. See you soon.