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Carmi City Council Passes Budget; Approves Business Zoning for Hargrave Properties

If all goes according to plan, the City of Carmi will operate $257 in the black for the upcoming year.  The City of Carmi approved their 2016 budget at last night’s council meeting.  That $257 was the final number left after plenty of give and take by the council and mostly take according to city accountant Keith Botsch.  In a fifteen minute public hearing prior to Tuesday night’s council meeting, Botsch laid out the budget with expected receipts of just over 3.5 million dollars and expenses of just under 3.9 million, leaving a deficit of $304,743.  Botsch explains getting  back to black.

Botsch Budget “But you gotta remember we put in $325,000 for a firetruck purchase, which in a governmental fund gets expensed off as a capital outlay.  Then, we’re gonna borrow $325,000 and then we usually transfer $20,000 out and it all goes to the library.  So after that, we’ve got a $257 excess of revenue over expenditures.  It took some work to get there.”

Botsch, who has worked financials for the city since 1980 says one of the most glaring issues in the budget is the water department which continues to operate at nearly a quarter of a million dollar loss in actual cash, even more ($348,100) with depreciation factored in.

“You don’t wanna hear this and I don’t wanna say it, but eventually you’re gonna have to look at a rate increase.  Carmi does have cheap water compared to a lot of places and good water.  What we have done in the past is we’ve done a multi year increase so instead of going up like 20% in a single year, you go up maybe 4% for 5 years or 5% over 4 years or however you wanna do it.  Short of robbing some other department or cutting expenses further, somewhere down the road, there’s gonna have to be a rate increase.  And you need to remember when you pass that, it’s also going to affect Brownsville, Crossville, everybody that buys water from you.”

As Botsch says, the budget is simply a guide, the appropriation ordinance is the maximum amount the city can spend without passing an appropriation ordinance.  For 2016, they’ve appropriated $18,824,432, down from $19,190,000 in 2015.

Also at last night’s council meeting, members unanimously granted the rezoning of properties at 408 West Street, 524 Webb Street as well as 404 and 406 Olive Street as Business Zoning status.  Kenny Hargrave says he’s planning to build an approximately 30 x 50 pole barn type structure for Haven Kirkpatrick to operate her Crossfit business “Fitness Haven” from at the 408 West Street location.  He plans to rock and create more parking for Hargrave Mums and More on Olive Street and Hargrave says he’s just going to clear out the building and clean up the property on Webb Street.