Peoria seeks public input on how to spend COVID relief funds

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PEORIA (WEEK) — The federal government wrote a 47 million check to the City of Peoria for COVID relief. The question now becomes; how should the city spend it?

Over the last three weeks, the city used a survey to get a sense for the community’s priorities. Communications Director Stacy Peterson says the city received hundreds of responses before the window closed Thursday at 5 p.m.

“Coronavirus relief funds are a really hot topic in communities all across America,” Peterson said. “Our City Council specifically said that they wanted to make sure we had a robust public engagement campaign.”

The funds in question come from the “American Rescue Plan.” About $10 million of the $47 million the city received has already been allocated to the city’s furloughed workers and working cash bonds. That leaves roughly $37 million up for debate.

“We’ve seen people who really see an importance in the investment in some of our smaller businesses,” Peterson said. “Infrastructure is always a very hot topic, and the equity piece is very important to people.”

And in Peoria today, residents weighed in with their opinions.

“Local businesses could definitely get some of that.” Aaron Strauss said.

“Medical equipment. Hospitals really need that funding as well.” Phil Peters said.

“Programs that help address the income disparity,” Allison Bell said.

The city says this issue will be discussed at future City Council meetings. Peterson says this isn’t the first time the city has done something like this, and it isn’t just for show.

“We will take a look at [the survey data]. We will prioritize it. Turn over all the data to the City Council, and then they’ll start the budget discussions on it,” Peterson said.

However, the deadline for spending the money is the end of 2024, still over three years away.

The post Peoria seeks public input on how to spend COVID relief funds appeared first on WEEK.

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