Carbondale budget more than $700,000 short for next fiscal year


Multimedia Journalist - Kathryn DiGisi

CARBONDALE, Ill. - The city of Carbondale, Illinois is in the red.

After reviewing the budget for the next fiscal year, the city manager discovered they will be more that $700,000 short.

Don Monty walked into a bit of a financial mess when he took on the role as acting Carbondale mayor.

"Personnel costs are going to go up, our pension costs are going to go up," said Monty.

To remedy that, something has got to give.

The council is looking to either increase sales tax, increase licensing fees for businesses or increase hotel-motel tax.

SIU accountancy professor Allan Karnes says increasing sales tax will hit you, the consumer, directly.

"You might choose to go to Marion to shop because the sales tax is less," said Karnes.

If the city chooses to increase licensing fees, they might find it harder to attract new businesses to the area because it costs more for the entrepreneur to set up shot.

Karnes says a hotel-motel tax would be felt by the citizens of Carbondale the least.

"How many times would you, as a Carbondale resident, stay in a Carbondale hotel? Never. The people who end up paying that tax are almost all from out of town," said Karnes.

Monty says he is not surprised by the city's financial woes.

"It's very common for just about every local government to be experiencing very, very tight budgets," said Monty.

But he says if the council does not act quickly and efficiently, it will only get worse.

"We can't let that happen," said Monty.

Monty says if the city does not increase taxes, the city services will suffer.

That could mean a number of things ranging from streets not being cleaned as often to laying off police officers.