New Carlisle city government has begun planning its 2019 budget with about $950,000 saved in its general fund — a stark contrast to five years ago when the city had nearly no money in the coffers.
New Carlisle Mayor Ethan Reynolds, City Council Member Mike Lowery and City Manager Randy Bridge said the money was saved by being fiscally conservative but also thanks to a police levy passed by taxpayers in 2015.
“It’s general fund money and can be used for anything,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been saving for the last four years. There is a big thanks that go out to the New Carlisle citizens for passing the police levy. That freed up general fund money to be spent elsewhere.”
The city was in serious financial trouble five years ago.
“We were looking at having less than $1,500 in our general fund at the end of the year which is just terrifying obviously,” Lowery said.
The fear of running out of money led to cuts including the city’s police department. The city now contracts with the sheriff’s office. Other items that would usually be fixed yearly also had to wait.
The cuts were difficult, but the city needed to make sure it found stable financial footing, Bridge said.
“These past years as the administrative leader for the City has been filled with extreme highs and, some low points, but we are progressing,” Bridge said. “Progressing at a pace the City has not experienced in years, a momentum that is not slowing down.”
Reynolds and Lowery said in 2019, however, the city will begin working on those projects again.
Some of the items the council is considering working on with the extra cash in 2019 are road repairs, fireworks and pool upgrades, Reynolds said, things the city simply couldn’t afford not too long ago.
Lowery noted the city has paved more streets over the last two years than it has in the previous decade.
Reynolds said he believes the city can save more.
“Are we in a healthy spot? We are better than we were,” Reynolds said. “Are we perfect? No. We still have some way to go. But we are going to be able to do some maintenance finally on things that we haven’t been able to do.”
The city is going in the right direction, Lowery said.
“Its a step in the right direction and anybody who lives in the city of new Carlisle should see it as a big positive,” he said.
However, Lowery also said more work needs to be done and cautioned that the money can go fast.
“If we took the money and used it just for road repair we could use that up on a handful of roads and it is gone,” he said. “It’s not a lot of money. There is always work that needs to be done and we are moving in the right direction.”