City Council reviews community goals

The Carbondale City Council reviewed the city’s community goals and the proposed Community Investment Plan at the meeting Tuesday.

The community goals document provided a general direction for the preparation of the city’s budget and included input from city government and citizens.

The city council reviewed the document and suggested changes deemed necessary as the fiscal year 2013 budget process begins.

Councilwoman Jane Adams said the document should, in the future, be reworded to better align with the city’s 2010 comprehensive plan, which she said prioritized housing and neighborhoods.

“It’s really time for the staff to go back and look at the comprehensive plan … and bring the goals into harmony,” she said.

She also said the structure of the document, which includes goals, objectives and strategies, does not flow logically.

“It doesn’t seem like a very useful management tool,” she said. “It’s time for a new plan.”

Councilman Don Monty said he’d like to change the document to address how to make city

government more accessible to students.

He said the city could create a database of registered rental housing units and building code violation information.

Monty also said the city website could be more student-friendly with a centralized webpage about issues relevant to students, including housing and parking.

Councilman Chris Wissmann said the city could create multiple websites of information relevant to certain individuals.  For example, there could be a website specifically for someone seeking information about starting a business in the city, he said.

Several council members mentioned adding downloadable or streaming video of city council meetings to the city’s website.

The council also reviewed the Community Investment Plan.  The CIP lists infrastructure projects suggested by residents and city staff.

Monty said given the city’s financial situation, some infrastructure projects on the CIP can remain backlogged for years.

One CIP suggestion from a Carbondale resident was to establish bicycle trails and paths throughout Carbondale. There has been an unfunded CIP to establish a bikeway network since 1983.

Another suggestion from city staff regarding the city sewer system called for replacing an outdated lift station with a gravity sewer system, which Monty said could save the city a considerable amount of money and free up cash for other projects.

The council also voted unanimously to authorize the city manager to enter a memorandum agreement with the Southern Illinois Coal Belt Champion Community, Inc. to participate in a revolving loan fund program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the agreement, Carbondale would partner with Du Quoin for the loan program administration and together contribute $50,000.  Carbondale will contribute $25,000 from its existing Revolving Loan Fund to become eligible for matching funds from the USDA, making both cities eligible for $500,000 each.

“To take $25,000 and turn it into $500,000, that’s a good deal,” Monty said.

 

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