Pekin Business Advocacy
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Pekin Business Advocacy
Issues at the Pekin City Council and Tazewell County Board that impact the business community
Curated by Bill Fleming
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Pekin hires new city manager- Pekin Daily Times - Pekin, IL

Pekin hires new city manager- Pekin Daily Times - Pekin, IL | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it

Mark Rothert is the new Pekin city manager. He also was the previous Pekin city manager. But "interim" no longer applies to his status regarding this position, which is his first in charge of municipal operations.


"I'm just very appreciative of this opportunity," said Rothert, who has worked in local government and economic development for 17 years. "It's very humbling to be in this position." I'm looking forward to the opportunities ahead of us and the challenges ahead of us."

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Word on the Street: Longtime Tazewell Board stalwarts Jim Donahue, Mike Godar resign - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL

Word on the Street: Longtime Tazewell Board stalwarts Jim Donahue, Mike Godar resign - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
A couple of longtime Tazewell County Board members resigned last month.Jim Donahue of Pekin was among seven board members from District 2, which includes Dillon, Elm Grove, Groveland, Hopedale, Morton and Tremont townships.
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Pekin Talks: Episode 1 - Tazewell Tax Hike

Pekin Daily Times Reporter Michael Smothers speaks with Dave Zimmerman, a Tazewell County Board chairman, about the new tax rate referendum. The March 2
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Nick in the AM: Tazewell County committee favors appointed, not elected auditor

Nick in the AM: Tazewell County committee favors appointed, not elected auditor | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Some Tazewell County Board members appear to have decided upon the merits — or, perhaps, the demerits — of having an elected auditor.They also appear ready to leave the ultimate decision to Tazewell County voters.A temporary committee that has been reviewing the auditor's office plans to suggest the position become an appointed one. That suggestion might be presented next month to the County Board's executive committee.If the full board considers and
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Tazewell board puts tax hike to voters

Tazewell board puts tax hike to voters | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Tazewell County voters will decide in March whether to counter the county’s growing budget deficit with a 15 cent property tax rate increase.The County Board on Wednesday approved placing a referendum on the spring elections ballot seeking voter permission — required under the county’s tax cap law — for what would be the county’s first property tax hike in 15 years.While the unanimous decision came without board debate, the proposed 30 percent
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Darrell Meisinger to leave Tazewell County Board

Darrell Meisinger to leave Tazewell County Board | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Darrell “Dude” Meisinger will resign from his District 1 seat on the Tazewell County Board next month, the board’s chairman confirmed Tuesday.Meisinger, 79, of Green Valley cited health reasons in his decision to step down from the seat for which he was elected to a third four-year term last November, said David Zimmerman.His resignation will take effect July 26. “That will start the 60-day clock” for the board to choose Meisinger’s
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Voter's Guide - Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce believes it is important that Chamber members exercise their right to vote.  The chamber also believes it is important that business leaders be informed voters, particularly when it comes to issues that can affect the local business environment.  With that in mind, the chamber sent a questionnaire to candidates for the Pekin City Council.

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Nick in the AM: School in session for new Tazewell Board members

Nick in the AM: School in session for new Tazewell Board members | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — The Tazewell County Board reorganization meeting convened at 8:30 Monday morning.
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New City Manager Tony Carson experienced on both sides of council table

New City Manager Tony Carson experienced on both sides of council table | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
As a 5-year-old, Tony Carson spent his Saturday’s at his father’s neighborhood drug store in Warren, Ohio, wiping down shelves, for which he was rewarded.
“You would take every item off and put it right in front on the floor and I would get a bucket and I would wash the shelves down,” said Carson. “My reward was I got a hamburger at the local tavern around the corner. That was my pay for the work that day.” 
By age 10 or 11, he was running the cash
Bill Fleming's insight:
The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce looks forward to working with Tony on the common goals and visions we share with the City of Pekin.
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Only 4 candidates file for 3 Pekin City Council Seats

Only 4 candidates file for 3 Pekin City Council Seats | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
 
Only four of 15 people who received packets to run for the Pekin City Council have filed to run and Councilmen Tim Golden and Rusty Dunn are not among them.
City Clerk Sue McMillan said Tuesday that four people had filed before the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday — Jim Schramm, owner of Yesterday’s Bar & Grill and a former candidate for the Council; Michael Garrison; John McNish; and current Councilman Lloyd Orrick. 
McNish and Garrison did not have phone numbers or email
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Council wraps up proposed city manager deal - Pekin Daily Times

Council wraps up proposed city manager deal - Pekin Daily Times | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
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Tri-County group unveils plans for better connecting bike system - Chronicle Media

Tri-County group unveils plans for better connecting bike system - Chronicle Media | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
On Oct. 5 at Peoria's Gateway Building, the commission hosted an open house for BikeConnect HOI, a TCRPC regional bicycle plan for the Greate
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Efficiency study: Fill some administrative vacant positions

Efficiency study: Fill some administrative vacant positions | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
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City Council approves Pekin airport runway rehab agreement - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL

City Council approves Pekin airport runway rehab agreement - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — The Pekin City Council unanimously voted to approve a $3 million agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for the Pekin Municipal Airport's runway project during Monday’s meeting.“This is a funding agreement with the state for the rehabilitation of our runway for next...
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Tazewell County Human Resources Committee struggles with pay, positions - News - Pekin Daily Times - Pekin, IL

Tazewell County Human Resources Committee struggles with pay, positions - News - Pekin Daily Times - Pekin, IL | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
The Tazewell County Human Resources Committee faced hard decisions Tuesday evening involving elected official compensation and the hiring of three replacement personnel.
The HR committee meets every four years to set salaries for elected officials.
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Tazewell board seeks 'structural change' in budget planning

Tazewell board seeks 'structural change' in budget planning | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Cuts in state-supplied revenue prompted a new Tazewell County Board committee to begin work Wednesday on next fiscal year’s budget barely a month after the current fiscal year began.That’s the start of what board Vice Chairman Tim Neuhauser called a “structural change” in both when to begin the board’s budget chores and how to approach them.Whether the county will seek to solve its financial problems with employee reductions remains uncertain as
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Tazewell jail bonds long paid off, but public safety sales tax lives forever

Tazewell jail bonds long paid off, but public safety sales tax lives forever | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — In 2000, under threat of forced state action, Tazewell County voters finally approved a sales tax increase to pay for a new county jail. The $17 million building was paid off in 2011, but the half-cent public safety sales tax added to most goods purchased in the county continues to be collected.
For two main reasons, according to county officials:
Nobody ever said the tax would be retired when the building was paid off, said Tazewell County Board Chairman David Zimmerman in a
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Nick in the AM: Tazewell County revisits abolishing elected auditor

Nick in the AM: Tazewell County revisits abolishing elected auditor | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Almost two years after they considered and rejected such a possibility, Tazewell County officials again are pondering whether to no longer have an elected auditor.Not surprisingly, the current occupant of that office isn't sure it's a good idea."It would give the County Board and the board chairman and county administration control over everything," Shelly Hranka said. "Our county is very conservative. They want somebody watching."Hranka, a Republican, was elected last year to
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Pekin school districts react to rise in city busing costs

Pekin school districts react to rise in city busing costs | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — Two local school districts have sticker shock over a bill from the city of Pekin Bus Department to transport students in the coming school year.
When asked about the higher rates, Pekin City Manager Tony Carson said he could not discuss the issue because the terms are still being discussed. “There’s really nothing I can provide you at this point other than I’m confident that the city and the schools will come to agreements that are beneficial to all parties.
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The Case For Economic Development

Two former city managers make their case for economic development and propose alternative funding sources.

by Dennis Kief, City Manager, (2003-2010) and Frank Mackaman, Mayor (2005-2007) and Interim City Manager (2010-2011)

Even more so than many other cities in Illinois and throughout the nation, Pekin faces considerable financial challenges if it is to deliver the public services our residents expect over the long haul.

We believe that a renewed investment in economic development will yield positive results for our community. Put simply, the promise of economic development boils down to this: growing business provides jobs; job-holders increase spending, which generates sales tax revenue; and more economic activity improves property values, which increases property tax revenue. The City has taken steps to reign in expenses. Now it’s time to generate revenue.

This effort needs to include not just the City but also the Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Economic Development Council, and the business community.

We propose that the City reinvigorate its economic development program by taking the following actions:

1. Increase the City’s gasoline tax from four to five cents per gallon, which matches the rate in Peoria. This increase will add $150,000 to the street maintenance budget.

2. In turn, reallocate $150,000 from the recent tax increase approved by the Council (and designated for street maintenance) to economic development.

3. Increase the hotel-motel tax from five to six percent to match neighboring communities. Earmark the additional $35,000 generated for economic development.

4. Consider allocating a portion of the current $170,000 generated by this tax for development.

These four actions would produce at least $185,000 annually to improve the City’s business climate. And it would do so without depriving the City of any existing revenue. Past City administrations have used economic development incentives successfully. Think of East Court Village, Riverway Business Park, and TIF support to downtown businesses. It is past time to build upon those successes.

Speaking of TIF, City officials need to evaluate the economic development opportunities presented by the downtown tax increment financing district (TIF 1). TIF 1 expires in 2021. The City has more than $3,000,000 in reserves which, in turn, generates about $500,000 annually in income. But there is no formal plan to use those funds to replicate the success of small businesses downtown such as those in the 200 block of Court Street.

The City’s financial health is precarious. The property tax levy produced $642,072 for the General Fund in FY2013-2014. By FY2016-2017, however, the levy generated $0 (that is a zero) for General Fund projects beyond pension and debt repayment obligations. In fact, the levy fell short of fully funding the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund by $549,763.

We cannot count on financing basic City services with new debt. Nor is it likely that Pekin’s Equalized Assessed Valuation (the basis for property tax revenue) will increase. The wise use of economic development incentives is necessary to promote economic growth over the long term.

Written by:
Dennis Kief, City Manager, (2003-2010)
Frank Mackaman, Mayor (2005-2007) and Interim City Manager (2010-2011)

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce or its members.
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Thompson's downtown Pekin development methods touted in Inc. Magazine

Thompson's downtown Pekin development methods touted in Inc. Magazine | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
Anyone can renovate or build a building, but there are few developers who spend a great deal of their time helping tenants build their dream.
The Nov. 26 edition of Inc. Magazine, a national entrepreneurial magazine, has a familiar face in it — that of 353 Court LLC Developer Todd Thompson. The article, “Creating Storefront Entrepreneurs One Small Town at a Time,” tells the story of the evolution of downtown Pekin from a blighted corridor of empty storefronts and dilapidated
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Pekin video gaming ordinance tabled

Pekin video gaming ordinance tabled | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
The Pekin City Council on Monday in a 7-0 vote tabled a video gaming ordinance that would have limited the number of gaming cafes and established fees for all gaming establishments in Pekin.
Council members expressed concern with the fairness of the proposed ordinance, potential revenue to the city and the financial implications to business owners. The ordinance would limit the number of gaming cafes to 20 and impose a $1,000 annual fee per establishment and another $250 fee per machine.
Mayor
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Tazewell County Board sees contests in districts 1 and 3

Tazewell County Board sees contests in districts 1 and 3 | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
PEKIN — At first blush, there might not be much difference between Tazewell County Board candidates Jay Hall and Gary Sciortino.
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Pekin City Council negotiates with city manager candidate

Pekin City Council negotiates with city manager candidate | Pekin Business Advocacy | Scoop.it
Pekin Mayor John McCabe announced Monday that the Pekin City Council received a verbal commitment from one of six candidates interviewed on Friday and Saturday for the vacant city manager’s position.
McCabe said negotiations are underway at this time with the candidate and hopes contract details will be hammered out in time for the Council to vote at its Oct. 24 meeting.
The Council was slated to interview six of 11 candidates selected by GovHR USA, the consulting firm hired to help with
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