PEORIA — It soon may cost more to get married in Peoria County.
The Ways and Means Committee of the Peoria County Board voted unanimously Wednesday to increase the cost of a wedding license in the county from $50 to $75.
The measure still needs to be approved by the County Board as a whole but is expected to add about $30,000 a year to the county treasury.
The committee followed up on a review of the issue by county clerk Steve Sonnemaker with the recommendation that Peoria County bring its fee up to $75, the state maximum, matching what's currently charged in Tazewell, Fulton and Marshall counties.
If approved, the new fee will include the state's $5 domestic violence fee that goes into effect May 1.
"Marriage license fees haven't increased since 2011. This would keep it more in par with Tazewell County," said Sonnemaker.
The county clerk's review indicated that 1,208 wedding licenses were issued in Peoria County last year, while 597 were issued in Tazewell County. Thirty-five licenses were issued in Marshall County, 28 in Stark County and 22 in Putnam County, where the license fee is $20.
Paul Gilfillan, chief judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit, an area that includes Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties, addressed committee members, offering his own endorsement of the increase. "Peoria is a magnet for weddings. I'd like to see the county recoup some of that," he said.
Board member Phil Salzer expressed his support for the measure, noting he usually hears how Peoria's fees are higher than the surrounding counties.
Board Chairman Andrew Rand also pledged full support for the increase. "I'll take the hit for raising the fees," he said.
Steve Tarter covers city and county government for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3260 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter@SteveTarter and facebook.com/tartersource.