EXCLUSIVE - Risinger to ask for inquiry into collection of electric tax funds from Peoria

DeWayne Bartels

Fourth District councilman Bill Spears wants some illumination on the issue of tax receipts from AmerenCILCO to the city that the state may be diverting.

State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria) is interested also.

“I think this is worth looking into. (Spears) is on the right track. I’m going to ask the Illinois Auditor General to look into this,” Risinger told the Peoria Times-Observer, this morning.

Yesterday, while addressing the Peoria Lions Club, Spears said he is suspicions the state is hanging onto tax revenues that should be coming to the city.

Spears said he became suspicious recently when city staff showed the city council a chart outlining city revenues.  Spears said the chart showed revenues to the city for taxes on electric usage went flat.

Spears said the flat trend coincided with a change in collection procedures for the tax revenues with the receipts going through the state.

Spears said prior to the state taking over the collection and distribution of the tax receipts the city received the revenue directly from AmerenCILCO. The city, Spears said, during that time was seeing steady increases in revenue.

Spears said he is suspicious because during the time period the receipts went flat the city was experiencing both commercial and residential building growth, as well as population growth.

“We should be going after the state for those dollars ... If we have money coming for the past couple of years we might use that to avoid a tax increase,” Spears said.

Spears said he has asked AmerenCILCO to do an audit showing the rate of electric usage in the city for the past several years.

“Could the state be hanging onto receipts. It could happen. It should be checked out,” Risinger said.

“A lot of businesses went to other providers, but that shouldn’t have a big impact. A lot of communities in the past couple of years have been hard by slowdowns but not Peoria.”

AmerenCILCO spokesman Neal Johnson said he was unaware of the request and had no idea how long it would take the utility to process Spears’ request.