Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with City Administrator Connie Latimer:

Connie Latimer

The Marshall City Council approved the proposed budget for their new fiscal year this week.  Latimer said the numbers are not where they need to be.  “At this point, if we spend the money we have earmarked for this year’s budget, we would end up a little over a half-million-dollars in the red at the end of the year, “said Latimer, “Nobody likes that.  I hate it, but it just is what it is and, it’s like I told the council, I don’t see any point in trying to sugar coat it.”

Latimer explained, in part, how they have landed in this situation.  “Revenues may be down a little bit, but, for the most part, they have stayed the same,” said Latimer, “We haven’t increased our revenues to keep up with expenses.  Our expenses have increased just like everyone else.  There was a lady last week who was concerned because we had used the rock and the oil as opposed to doing asphalt overlay on O’Dell Street.  I explained that the overlay was $350,000 and the rock and oil was $92,000.”

According to the administrator, while there are numerous reasons behind the situation, there is also false information out in the community.  “I did see on the infamous blogs where we got hit pretty hard and people were saying we give everything to ConAgra, which is really the furthest thing from the truth,” said Latimer, “We did an abatement several years ago with them on personal property when they did an expansion, but it was an in-plant expansion.  It was tied to 150 jobs and they have to give us a report every month and they have maintained or exceeded 180 plus jobs throughout this whole thing.  So, they have done more than their share of what the agreement was with them.  Doing that for ConAgra certainly did not put us in this situation.”

According to Latimer, city officials are working on plans to tackle the situation, but are not yet ready to discuss the details.  They do, however, say that employees are pulling together to make the best of a bad situation.  “We have great employees and department heads,” said Latimer, “They stretch things as far as they can go.  For example, the street department, I think, is down four full-time employees and we haven’t filled those positions.  The police and fire departments work toward grant money all the time and that’s really helped a lot.”