As I promised transparency in campaigning, the Carlisle Citizen has offered to publish a mayoral column in the paper. I wish to thank them for doing so. I plan to use this as a way to give insight as to issues and ideas that affect our city. Along that line, input from citizens is a must in order for council to make informed decisions. To assist in this effort, I am going to have a link placed on our city website for questions and or minor surveys that the citizens can offer their input. In order for this to be successful, we need your support and interaction. Please watch for future mayor columns in the Carlisle Citizen. I will make an effort for this to be monthly or more often as needed.
I would like to thank all of those who voted in the last election. We had one of the best turnouts to vote in a city election in quite a while. Again, thank you.
With my council seat becoming vacant, the council voted to appoint my replacement, for the remaining two years of my former term. Four citizens applied for the open seat. Thank you to all who applied. It was refreshing to have that number apply and willing to be involved with city council. After the council interviewed all candidates, they arrived at a decision. We wish to welcome Josiah Doughty to the council. Congratulations, and welcome aboard Josiah. Fresh and new ideas are always welcomed, and I look forward to his input.
In campaigning and reaching out to the community during Pumpkinfest and meeting with business owners, it became abundantly clear that our infrastructure was a high priority. Street conditions was one of the major concerns. I am making this a priority during my term. The School Street Phase 1 (Frontage Road to 5th Street) Improvement Project will be undertaken beginning about April through September 2018.
We are currently putting together the budget for –the fiscal year from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. This is always a tough time trying to adhere to departments requests and incoming revenue. Maintaining a balance between incoming revenue and expenditures has been attempted and looks like it will be accomplished. Thanks to city staff and department heads for their tremendous help in getting this done.
In my next column, you will see the financial numbers to as where the city stands now. This is not to lay blame on city administration (which I have been a part of for 14 years), but to make citizens aware where we are as a city and what we face trying to further our city’s future based on money available. Although trying to maintain the current tax levy is always a priority to council, it is only possible to a certain degree. If we don’t raise the levy when needed, future increases could be larger at one time rather than small increases. Our electric rates remained steady for years and then we had numerous increases to make up the shortfall during that time. Small increases are easier to accommodate than large ones all at once.
One more on-going issue. The Warren County Jail. The jail is now closed to incarcerated inmates. Carlisle and the other two main cities in the county are now responsible for inmates until they are arraigned. The Sheriff has worked out an agreement with us that results in our city having to pay about $10,000 in additional cost per year (on top of our county taxes) to help make up the cost of transporting and housing prisoners to Jasper county. This appears to have been the best financial scenario we could have received. We aren’t enthusiastic about the additional cost, but we are left without any other viable options. As I stated before, contacting supervisors and or city officials with your input is invaluable. There will be more to come on jail issues, so stay tuned.