A potential Peoria City buyout of Illinois-American-Water will likely be discussed in the coming months. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports a group under the region’s new economic development effort could revisit the issue:
One of the groups under Focus Forward C.I. is a committee to evaluate the water resources and economic opportunities with water for the region. A strengths and weaknesses report circulating among members of the Focus Forward Policy Steering Committee says that the cities of Peoria and Pekin are at a competitive disadvantage because they don’t own a public water supply. That water resources group includes high level staff at the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Commission chair Larry Whitaker says that implies Tri-County is weighing-in on decisions ultimately left up to the cities:
“The Commission really doesn't have a dog in this hunt...but when all of a sudden we have that level of personnel the implication is we’re behind it or we’re support it, and the commission has not taken a policy position, I don't know that we want to have a policy position in something like this and so we just want to make sure we’re not sending the wrong message,” Whitaker says.
The Peoria City Council has voted down the idea to pursue a buyout of Illinois-American-Water in the past. Tri-County executive director Terry Kohlbuss says the water resource group will likely raise the issue in future meetings.