CARTHAGE CITY COUNCIL
The Budget hearing of the Carthage City Council was held April 20th, 2010, at City Hall, 538 Wabash Avenue. Mayor Nightingale called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. Answering to roll call were Aldermen Campbell, G. Smith, Fleming, B. Smith, Neally and Walker. Treasurer Lunt was absent.
Motion was made by Alderman Walker, seconded by Campbell to approve Ordinance 2009-18 on water/sewer rates to be implemented May 1st with changes to reflect current practice of bi-monthly billing not monthly as currently written. All six Aldermen voted “yes”.
Mayor Nightingale complimented all persons for adhering to the budgetary timeline and keeping expenses to a minimum. He expressed concerns about the uncertainty of receiving the $75,000 Federal Stimulus money that was promised last year. Senator Sullivan is hopeful but can not guarantee anything.
That money has already been spent on the new concrete apron in front of the fire station, the new furnace and roof at City Hall, the furnace at the Kibbe museum. Without the funds being reimbursed from that grant, the General Fund balance will be very low at the end of the fiscal year.
Mayor Nightingale stated that most of the work that Deputy Clerk Alice Dean does is dealing with the Water and Sewer funds. Because the Sewer fund has a higher balance and fewer projects anticipated this year, her salary will be taken exclusively from this fund. Next year it is hoped that her salary can be split between the two funds.
Mayor Nightingale indicated that salaries and benefits are a large portion of the budget this year. If the State continues to delay payments, he stressed that personnel will be affected next year.
He continued to go through the budget, department by department. There was discussion around each department’s expenses, particularly the Street Department. There was concern about the amount of part time help utilized. There is more being spent with the part time help then the amount spent with three full time people prior to Bud Wear’s retirement.
The property adjacent to the landfill has been sold and will close within the next 30 days. Interest expense will be deducted at the time of sale along with closing costs. It is difficult to know how to estimate these expenses, so an eventual budgetary amendment will most likely need to occur.
In the past, the General fund was utilized to pay the salary for the DARE officer. This year the salary is being taken from the DARE fund to better reflect utilization of staff. There are enough funds in this account to pay the salary and expenses for one more year. If the Police department is unable to solicit enough funds or if the schools are unable to contribute to this program, it may not be possible to continue the program next year.
With the Water and Sewer bills maintaining a bi-monthly schedule, postage will be returned to $1500 and $1350 per fund respectively.
The Water Operation and Maintenance fund is to be utilized for payment of two watermain projects and some significant expenses on the water plant. The Year-end balance in this fund is estimated to be around $8,000. After a lengthy discussion, it was determined that the plans will remain and ongoing evaluation of the status of this fund will occur.
There is some investigation into the City attaining a bond to pay for some of these large expenses, which would alter the budget at a later date.
Mayor Nightingale reminded the Council of the bid letting for the Motor Fuel Tax fund on May 6th at 11:00AM and the year-end meeting on April 30th at 7:00 to adapt the new budget.
Motion to adjourn at 9:00PM by Alderman Walker, seconded by Campbell.
Katherine Graham, City Clerk