REALTOR® advocacy resulted in important changes to a recently passed increase in property fees assessed to Peoria residents this week.

As part of a package of budget items for the city’s next fiscal year, Peoria City Council members voted by a narrow 6-5 margin to implement a public service fee on Tuesday.

According to the report, the fee would be about $30 annually for a homeowner in the city. The money, used to offset pension cost increases, helps close a $6 million budget shortfall.

Illinois REALTORS® and its consumer advocacy arm, Real Property Alliance, worked closely with the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® to try and protect Peoria residents from another property-based tax increase.

The state association launched an aggressive program which included mailings, and RPA followed up with two weeks of social media ads to alert property owners about the fee.

The campaign ratcheted up pressure on council members, and the efforts of the REALTOR® organizations was noted at the meeting. One council member said he’d received hundreds of emails about the proposal.

“Multiple council members brought our postcard and were waving it in the air,” said Illinois REALTORS® Local Government Affairs Director Kristie Engerman, who works with the Peoria association. “All of that proves our effectiveness.”

“The REALTOR® organization is the only group working to protect property owners, she said. “By using our resources to raise awareness on this fee, we were doing our job to advocate on their behalf.”

While the measure ultimately passed, REALTORS® were able to obtain some key provisions. A sunset clause was introduced into the ordinance, meaning that it would have to be reconsidered in three years.

The associations’ work also resulted in a lower fee structure. Initially, the ordinance would have imposed a $50 fee for any lot with a building with fewer that 5,000 square feet of space. Property with buildings above that threshold would have paid $300.

Under the ordinance passed on Tuesday, the fee structure was adjusted:

  • No structure on parcel =$10 a year
  • Structure <2,000 sf= $25/yr
  • Structure 2,000-5,000sf= $30/yr
  • Structure 5,000-10,000sf=$100/yr
  • Structure >10,000 sf = $200/yr

The result of work by PAAR and Illinois REALTORS® members and RPA resulted in significant savings for Peoria homeowners.