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Pekin City Council postpones votes on tax changes until next week

Potholes in Pekin have been causing issues for residents and to fix the streets, that the city claims cost $4 million to maintain, the council is considering doubling their local motor fuel tax from 4 to 8 cents.

“Our streets, our sidewalks. All those things have deteriorated, especially this last winter we’ve been hit really hard with the changing weather that’s happened a lot. The local gas tax was a natural one because people use gas to drive,” Pekin City Manager Mark Rothert said.

The city is also facing a problem with their pension obligations that are hitting over $40 million.

“A lot of municipalities, especially in downstate Illinois, are dealing with the pension issue, the unfunded liability with their police and fire funds,” Rothert said.

Though residents who spoke at the council meeting Monday night like lifelong Pekin resident Jodie Barnett, think the city is looking for money in the wrong places.

“It’s not fair to tax us because they mismanage money. They could learn to cut other things. If it’s just a 5 percent increase, learn to cut 5 percent somewhere else,” she said.

At the meeting, Mayor-Elect Mark Luft suggested the council hold off on the vote.

“We want to buy a little more time for the community and the taxpayers to have a chance to look at that and ingest so they can give us their opinion on what they want us to do with that,” he said.

But not everyone is convinced that waiting to vote will change anything.

“I think they’re going to try to slip it through,” Barnett said.

The council voted to hold a special city council meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday. They will vote on both potential taxes then.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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