Now and then, I am pleasantly surprised by the Peoria City Council. Not often, but now and then.
Being unable to attend Tuesday's City Council Meeting, I had to wait for Beth Ball to send me the minutes and read them over. It was a pleasant surprise that, while the council did give the "Wonderful Development" an additional six weeks, it did not give them the funding originally to come from the extended Southtown TIF. The pleas of Councilman Gulley, and the comments of many citizens from the Southtown area, not only pointed out that those funds would be much better used where they were collected, but that many of the projects originally intended for Southtown were never completed. Hmm, and I thought the purpose of a TIF was to rebuild the area. Sounds to me like very little rebuilding is going on there at all.
None of this should surprise anyone here in Peoria. Even when the City Council claims to be helping its citizens, they are actually hurting the current residents by "planning" for the future. Despite all its actions for community improvement, crime is up 36% in Peoria, according to the reports found on the City of Peoria website, and if you look at the stats for 2011, you'll notice the South end of Peoria is one of the hardest hit areas. After all these years, you would think that some of that TIF money could have been used to make safer neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, the East Bluff is also among those areas where crime is high. I wonder how much of the EVGC TIF funds will be used to help the residents who will be paying for that?