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Carbondale, Illinois

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Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, Illinois. Known as "The Capital of Southern Illinois," it is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, 96 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest. Carbondale is the home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University. As of a 2009 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a total population of 26,235. In addition, the city is a part of the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area, with a combined total of 123,272 residents. In 1971, Carbondale won the All-American City achievement award, and was a finalist in the 2009 contest.[1][2][3]

Website evaluation

In 2010 and 2011 Carbondale earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

Main article: Evaluation of Illinois city websites
Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning
Audits Y
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Lobbying Y
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Current budget and five year projections are posted.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting locations, minutes and agendas are posted online.[5]
    • Minutes are archived to 2004.
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are posted with contact information.[6]
  • Administration
    • A complete listing of city administrators and contact information, including e-mails, is available.[7]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Forms and applications for permits and zoning are posted online.[8][9]
  • Audits
    • Current audit reports are available.[10].
    • Audits are archived to 2006.
  • Contracts
    • An area has been allotted to post open bids, but no bidding is currently occurring.[11]
    • Awarded bids are posted.[12]
  • Lobbying
  • Public information
  • Taxes
    • Tax information, including that no property tax is collected, is provided on the site.[13][15]
  • Checkbook register

The bad

  • None posted yet

Website upgrade

The website was officially upgraded to meet the standards of the Transparency Checklist in March of 2009. Mayor Brad Cole said, "Open governance and accessible information are keys to building public confidence, and we are committed to a high level of accountability that can be seen in all our municipal activities..."[17]

Elected officials

Mayor and city council

The City of Carbondale operates under a council-manager form of government. The mayor and six city council members are elected at-large for four-year staggered terms in nonpartisan elections. The city council acts as the policy-making body for city government and hires a city manager to serve as the chief administrative officer. The mayor is the official head of the city and, with city council consent, is responsible for appointing members to the various boards, commissions and committees of the city.[18]

Regular council meetings are held on designated Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall/Civic Center, 200 South Illinois Ave. All meetings are open to the public. Every agenda includes the item "Citizen Questions and Comments" to permit discussion of any topic by any citizen.[18]

There are no term limits for individuals serving in elected office in Carbondale.[19]

The mayor is the official head of the city, presides at all meetings of the city council, and is empowered to declare civil emergencies during which time he/she may take any steps necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and the community.[19]

By virtue of his office, the mayor serves as chairman of the Local Liquor Control Commission and is a board member of the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (a regional drug task force)..[19]

Administrative officials

City manager

The city manager is appointed by the city council and is the chief executive officer of the city, supervising department heads that direct the administrative functions of the city. The city manager serves the seven member city council by carrying out policy and managing the operations of the city.[20]

By statute, the city manager is responsible for enforcement of all laws and ordinances within the municipality, the implementation of city council goals, policies and programs, and, through city departments, the provision of city services. The city manager and support staff provide professional management and leadership to city departments. The city manager serves as a liaison with the council and other government and public agencies.[20]

The city manager is the city’s budget officer and prepares the annual operating budget and the annual five-year capital improvements budget for city council consideration and enactment. The city manager appoints, suspends or removes all employees of the City, including all directors of administrative departments. All employees perform their duties subject to the direction of the city manager.[20]

Public employees

Carbondale employs approximately 283 full-time employees. Services provided by the city include police and fire protection, development services, public works, and the public library. The city also operates, on an enterprise basis, water and sanitary sewer operations, parking system maintenance and operations, solid waste collection and recycling operations and city-owned rental properties maintenance and operations.[21][22][23][24]


The FY 2012 Expenditure Budget for all funds totaled $40,958,284 compared to the FY 2011 Authorized Budget of $50,262,548, a decrease of $9,304,264. The decrease in budgeted expenditures was primarily due to the following items:[25]

  • CIP Expeditures including: Public Safety Center, Reed Station Road, Reed Station Parkway
  • Reduction in personnel and associated benefit costs in the General Fund.
  • Postponement of the relocation of the Fire Station capital project until a future date.
  • Postponement of the Mill Street Water Main and the Water Storage Facility capital projects.


The mayor and city council monitor legislation at the local, state and federal levels to stay abreast of issues that may affect the community. The mayor is the official spokesman for the city government in all political and legislative affairs and when dealing with other elected officials.[26]

The City of Carbondale is a dues-paying member of numerous associations that may conduct legislative advocacy initiatives at the state and/or federal levels. These associations include the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities and the Illinois Municipal League.[26]


The City of Carbondale collects various taxes and fees, such as sales tax, utility tax and user and registration fees, to fund the general operation of the government. The city collects no property tax for general government purposes and is one of only a few cities in Illinois to do so. Information concerning the revenue sources of the City of Carbondale may be found in Section III - Major Revenue Sources of the operating budget.[26]

External links