Marvin leaders push forward on budget

MARVIN – Although budget discussions in Marvin just began, town leaders know one thing for sure – taxes will not increase for residents for the 11th straight year.

Council members have worked with each line item and project individually throughout the year to help the budget workshops go smoothly, according to Councilman Lanny Openshaw. Marvin must approve its fiscal year budget by July 1 or be forced to pass emergency spending measures to fund town government in the meantime.

“I think the consensus at the meeting, and we have been looking at this throughout the course of the year, is the feeling that the budget process should go a lot more smoothly this year than it has in the past,” Openshaw said.

Although the village will be completing the third phase of Efird Park and possibly adding a community center on the property in the next year, Councilmember Ron Salimao said previous work on the projects could decrease the budget by $12,000 this year because Marvin has already set the money aside for the park.

Village leaders are not sure if they will renovate the current structure on the property for the new community center, which also will be used as a temporary town hall, or if they will construct a new facility on the property.  Marvin currently has $100,000 set aside for looking into further options for the center.

“Right now we are working on coming to a consensus on what the structure should hold and then we will go into pricing,” Openshaw said.  “And that’s when the rubber hits the road.”

Another main focus for the council as they move forward in the planning phase is the preservation of green space through parks and greenways, which also will limit the amount of residential space in the village and take pressure off local schools.

“It keeps us green and helps keep our tax rates low,” Salimao said.  By maintaining the current amount of residential property taxes will not have to increase to support more schools, he added.

According to Salimao, this year’s budget will allow for 10 percent of revenues to go toward buying land.  One way the village plans to utilize the land acquired will be the extension of the Marvin Loop greenway, but because council planned for the additions in past budgets the purchases will not cause an increase in property taxes for village residents.

“We are pretty much continuing with the things we started planning for last year,” Openshaw said.

The village recently sent out a land-use survey to help with future planning. While the results have not been tallied as of yet, Openshaw said the council is already up to speed with what residents want to see in their communities.

“It’s safety, it’s speeding, more park land, more trails … so it’s everything we thought,” Salimao said.  “There’s nothing we haven’t thought about so that we would have to change what we are thinking about.”

And one of the needs in the Marvin community is a larger sheriff’s office presence, according to residents and town leaders.

“We are looking at some money we have in the current budget and I’m sure we will in the future budget be looking into expanding the police presence,” Openshaw said.

Safety discussions in the village have been going on for months after neighborhoods began experiencing speeding and traffic issues.  The village currently has a contract with the Union County Sheriff’s Department and hopes to provide additional funding to bring more deputies to Marvin.

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