The City of Callaway Working Out of the Red - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

The City of Callaway Working Out of the Red

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"We were very concerned we might have to raise rates," said Marcus Collins. 

Collins took the reigns as City Manager for Callaway in 2012 when the city faced a $30 million debt. Including $20 million dollars for additional infrastructure within the city.

"We do have the infrastructure," said Collins. "Therefore it's going to allow us to grow in the future, so that was a good move as far as getting the infrastructure in, it was the cost associated with it that we didn't have revenues identified to pay it."

At beginning of his tenure Collins made it his goal to come in and identify additional revenue streams pulling the city's debt within a manageable reach.

"We found some areas in our communication tax and our gas tax where we were able to increase our revenue stream," said Collins. "Plus, also putting a hiring freeze on, but we are reorganizing we are still moving forward and giving the same level of service to the customers by decreasing the cost associated with that and by doing that you can now pay off your debts and take your city to the future properly."

But Collins, didn't do it alone. He credits the city's progress to a total team effort.

"You can't do it alone," said Collins. "You have to have the support of the staff as well as the council.

"So, this has been a team effort all the way through this the last six to seven months."  

But, what does this mean for Callaway citizens? Marcus says it means not asking to put additional burdens on the tax payers.

"Their water and sewer rates are not going to increase, their taxes are not going to increase, and we are going to maintain the level of service or even increase the level of service to them at a lower cost," said Collins.

The city's next budget workshop is scheduled for May 20th. Collins says additional revenue from refinancing the bond at a lower interest rate in 2017 may also allow the city to pay off additional debts.