Department heads and civic groups that get money from the city are making their requests before the Carthage City Council’s Budget Ways and Means Committee this week in the next step in the city’s annual budget process.
Nine groups, from the Carthage Public Library, to the Humane Society to youth baseball and softball groups appeared before the committee on Monday.
The city department heads will make their pleas on Wednesday when the committee resumes its three-evening series of meetings after Tuesday’s regular city council meeting.
According to Tom Short, Carthage City Administrator, it’s all part of the committee’s job to close a gap of a little more than $1.4 million between the amount requested and the amount the city has to spend.
“The budget situation we’re in now is a bit more uncertain than it was in the past,” Short told the committee in his budget presentation to the committee before the groups made their presentations. “At least last year we were more certain the recession would be carrying on a little bit longer. We’ve had a spike in our revenues because of the Joplin tornado and their recovery efforts and we’re seeing some benefits from that. How long that will last, we’re not sure but we’re trying to budget conservatively.”
On Wednesday, the city’s department heads, from police and fire, the street and public works department, the parks department and other city administrators will appear before the committee.
On Thursday, the committee will hear from the Carthage Water &?Electric Plant before getting to work trimming the requests and closing that gap between requests and revenue.
The committee must finish its work before the middle of May so the full city council has a chance to read the budget.
The council will vote on the budget in its two June meetings so it will be completed in time for the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
The budget committee meetings start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at city hall on the east side of the Square.
They last about two and a half hours and are open to the public.
Short has predicted that revenues for next fiscal year will come in at about $7.5 million.