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The Carthage Press
  • Council approves 2014-2015 budget

  • The city's 2014-2015 budget is on the books one week ahead of the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year after Tuesday's Carthage City Council Meeting.
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  • The city's 2014-2015 budget is on the books one week ahead of the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year after Tuesday's Carthage City Council Meeting.
    The city's $11.2 million spending plan includes additional revenue from Carthage Water & Electric Plant and a little more than $500,000 more in spending compared to the 2013-2014 budget.
    The city's budget focuses on maintaining core services with preference to enhancing the city's park system and construction of a south fire station as the major capital improvements in the coming year, according to a budget summary written in April.
    The council gave final approval on Tuesday to five council bills making up the 2014-2015 budget, including the ordinance approving the actual budget and ordinances authorizing contracts with the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Humane Society and Over 60 Center.
    The budgets authorizes 108 full time city employees and 42 part time and seasonal employees and calls for spending to exceed expected revenues by about $108,230. The city will tip into its unallocated fund balance to cover the difference, but expects to maintain an unallocated reserve of more than 25 percent of total revenues.
    The new budget will take affect on July 1.
    • In other actions, the council approved annexation of a small piece of property on County Route HH just west of the Steadley School at the request of Highland Realty Co.
    The Carthage Planning Zoning and Historic Preservation Board recommended the annexation and recommended that the new tract and the land immediately north of it on the south side of County Route HH west of Steadley School be zoned non-retail business to allow businesses such as doctors offices or attorneys offices to be built in the area.
    • The Council also approved a bid from G&H Redi Mix concrete to provide concrete for construction of traffic signals at County Route HH and Hazel Street.
    G&H bid $85 per cubic yard compared to $93 per cubic yard from the other bidder, Joplin Concrete.
    The Council also heard on first reading a council bill that would raise the cost of utility and curb cut repairs.
    At last week's Public Works Committee meeting, Public Works Director said the city currently charges a flat rate for material on all utility cut repairs and the rate does not include man hours, health insurance and equipment used in the repairs.
    The new rate will vary depending on if the repairs are to asphalt, concrete, a combination or to the curb and gutter.
    • The Council also approved an water rate hike, proposed by Carthage Water & Electric Company, that will only affect the largest water-using industries.
    The rate hike will increase CW&EP's water revenue by a little more than 3 percent.
    Page 2 of 2 - • The Council also approved the first ordinance in a process that will allow Schreiber Foods to expand its Fairview plant with a property tax break for the first few years of operation.
    The city will issue what are called Chapter 100 bonds to purchase equipment that Schreiber will use in the improved and expanded facility. Schreiber will buy all the bonds, but because the city will own the equipment, the company won't pay property taxes on it.
    The property tax abatement will last about five years, but the expansion of the plant will bring potentially 160 full time jobs to Carthage.
    The ordinance heard on Tuesday is an agreement to research the laws regarding the issuance of Chapter 100 bonds and the financing options, with Schreiber paying the city to conduct the research in advance of actually issuing the bonds.
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