EAST PEORIA — After a couple of exceptionally lean years, the city has about $1 million to spend on capital expenses in its proposed budget for 2019-2020.
Department heads have submitted about $3.5 million worth of requests.
"We will have to set our priorities at next week's meeting," Commissioner John Kahl said Tuesday at an East Peoria City Council working session on the capital budget.
Capital expenses include fire department requests of $1.2 million for a new platform fire truck and $600,000 for an engine, with options to finance over time; $630,000 for 14 new police squad cars; and $360,000 for plow trucks for the public works department.
Requests for the following two budget years include $2 million in 2020-2021 and $4.1 million in 2021-2022, for a three-year total of $9.6 million.
Future expenses include $1.2 million for engineering and construction of the Camp Street and River Road roundabout planned for 2020 and another $1.2 million for improvements to the intersection of Riverside and Camp streets.
The police squad car request is double a normal year's request after the city took a year off of its scheduled purchases due to a lack of money. The council passed a half-cent sales tax increase last year that helped ease the financial crunch of the last couple of years.
"The wild cards in the budget are because of no squad cars last year," Police Chief Dick Ganschow said Tuesday. "Our request is making up for that."
The department is also asking for two new record keeper positions after closing its dispatch center in the recent state-mandated consolidation with the Morton dispatch center. The closing of the East Peoria dispatch center leaves the department with not enough employees to handle walk-up business at the police department overnight or to manage the data influx coming when the department's body camera program goes live later this month or in early March.
The city council will take up capital budget requests at its regular meeting on Tuesday. It expects to vote on a finalized budget in March.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.