Peoria City Council uses COVID-19 relief money to avoid borrowing

Peoria City Hall is shown in a file photo. Leslie Renken/Journal Star

PEORIA — Within five minutes, the Peoria City Council committed just over $10 million of its $47 million received as part of the latest federal COVID relief package to help end furloughs and anticipated borrowing to balance this year’s budget.

The council’s votes means that planned borrowing of up to $10 million, needed to help plug a budgetary sink hole created by the pandemic last year, will not happen.  City Hall hadn’t borrowed any money yet so right now, the $10 million will sit in the bank, earning 0.4% interest until it’s withdrawn. 

But the move will mean the city will not have to pay interest on a loan that would have been paid back over several years. 

The other money, $301,685, was to end furloughs for non-union employees who had been taking unpaid time off as another tool to balance the budget. City Manager Patrick Urich said the money received last month by the city allowed it to go back to March 3 and reimburse those employees for the paychecks they missed. 

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