Council opens budget season goal-oriented

By Gus Bode

For the City Council, a new year means a new budget and fresh goals.

During its first meeting of 2008, the City Council discussed goals to achieve with the fiscal year 2009 budget, which goes into action May 1. Support for public transportation, an expansion of city limits and encouraging economic growth were some of the items on a six-page list of goals organized by City Manager Jeff Doherty’s office.

A public hearing about the new budget is scheduled for April 1, which is two weeks before the council will vote on its approval.


The list of goals included the continuation of Saluki Express and the Jackson County Mass Transit District for public transportation while SIUC is on semester breaks. Kevin Baity, assistant city manager for economic development, said he would check if Carbondale would benefit from a measure to support public transportation that is being reviewed by the Illinois House of Representatives. If approved, the state would increase sales and real estate taxes for Chicago-area residents in order to financially support public transportation systems in Chicago and downstate Illinois.

Mayor Brad Cole said the city remains a leader in its budget preparation, community activism and is the regional center for economic development and medical treatment.

“We want the entire community to grow,” said Cole, who did not name specific parts of the city he would like to see improve.

The council discussed issues among themselves while members of the audience voiced their own concerns and recommendations. Donald Monty, a former assistant city manager, suggested the council seek information about traffic circles to improve congestion around Carbondale Community High School. Monty said replacing the traditional four-way intersections could also increase green space at the center of the circle.

Aside from green space in traffic circles, the council was asked to use a property on Cherry and Forest streets for public park use. Sandy Litecky, president of the Arbor District Home Association, said green space on the property would be beneficial for students and regular city residents.

Councilman Lance Jack said he was pleased the city was looking to potentially adopt old topics, such as a skateboard park that has gained more support from the community.

Members of the council also expressed their dislike of a proposal that would allow city officials to attend meetings electronically. Councilwoman Mary Pohlmann said she would be more excited about the idea if technology beyond the telephone, such as Web cams, could be used instead. City employees who specialize in the Civic Center’s technology said such a system did not exist.


Daily Egyptian writer Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 274 or [email protected].