MOUNT CARMEL — With Monday evening marking the first Mount Carmel City Council meeting of the new year, Mayor Joe Judge delivered the State of the City address to a full house at City Hall.

The theme of Judge’s remarks was moving Mount Carmel forward, highlighting many improvements made over the calendar year of 2019.

Judge added that the new budget year will begin on May 1, and he assures the community that every department manages their portion of the budget very closely, due to uncertainties of State funding processes.

Judge stated that there were several highlights in Mount Carmel during the 2019 year.

Those include the new city hall location, and scheduled improvements and additions, ending the year with three percent unemployment, tied for second lowest in Southern Illinois, joining the Illinois Municipal League Board of Directors which gives Mount Carmel a voice in Springfield, joining the Southern Illinois Mayor Association, expansion of services at the Mount Carmel Airport, starting the Oak Street Sidewalk project planning from Fifth to Ninth Streets, and installation of the leaf vac service after a three-year hiatus.

Judge also highlighted improvements in healthcare with Wabash General Hospital’s upcoming building expansion and the Market Street and Merchants Park improvements.

Judge addressed a successful year for Police Chief Ryan Turner in his first year in the position and the promotion of Mike McWilliams as Detective. He also detailed the important work the police and fire services offer the City.

The Mayor discussed the events of 2019 and what is in store for Mount Carmel in 2020.

“Mount Carmel is a great place to grow up, go to school, raise a family and retire,” Judge said. “The community has a lot of good things going on and more to come. I ask each of you to be positive about our city. Get involved, volunteer and vote. Get out to know your neighbors and be kind to one another. A simple nod of the head and a smile goes a long way. We are a diverse community and that diversity is perhaps our greatest resource.”

Judge went on to say that this is a time to make a change and set new goals.

“This is a time of renewal,” Judge said. “A time to reflect on the events of the past year; to make amends if needed; to consider positive change and to set goals for the new year.”

After the meeting on Monday, the City announced that a CDBG/RLF grant has been awarded in the amount of $395,006.20 for the construction of the sidewalk from Fifth to Ninth Streets along Oak Street .

The City of Mount Carmel would like to thank Greater Wabash Regional Planning Commission and Hampton, Lenzini, and Renwick (HLR) for their work on this project. This project will enhance safety for pedestrian traffic along Oak Street. This project has an expected finish by January 31, 2022.

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