MARYSVILLE — Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring expressed what he described as “cautious optimism,” as the Marysville City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Nov. 13, to adopt a proposed city budget for 2013, whose slight increase over the previous year’s spending levels will go largely toward the city’s streets.
“Our citizens need solid services,” Nehring said on Nov. 13, while crediting city staff and Council members alike with investing several years of prioritized planning into making possible a budget “that allows us to reinvest in our city.” He pointed out that, in recent years, city department directors have even underspent their budgets.
Although Nehring estimated that sales tax revenues have bottomed out, and might even be experiencing a slight uptick, he nonetheless touted the proposed budget as maintaining conservative, disciplined spending levels while also affording modest improvements.
“Our reserve is at 10 percent now,” said Nehring, recalling that it had been at 6.5 percent in 2011. “We’re ahead of our goal on that front by two years, but the best thing for us to do is pretend that it’s not even there.”
In addition to increasing the subsidy for the operational needs of the city’s streets’ department by $670,568, Nehring also cited the creation of several specific funds, including a capital reserve fund of $825,000 in seed money for future improvements, and a facility maintenance and replacement fund of $125,000, as well as individuated reserve funds for information technology and fleet maintenance and replacement. The maintenance and repair of the streets themselves will also receive $350,000 to rehabilitate the surfaces of pavement for those roads that Public Works has determined to be most in need of repair.
“We’re starting a capital reserve fund because we don’t want to dip into the emergency reserve fund, since our goal is to continually lower our debt,” Nehring said. “We’re trying to stay on the right side of our expenses, but at the same time those $350,000 in road overlays have been long overdue.”
Nehring deemed the two new police officers that the budget provides to be hired mid-year as necessary to meet the needs of the city’s full annexed population. Two new equipment mechanic and maintenance worker positions will be hired late next year, to assume garbage duties in the Sunnyside and Whiskey Ridge areas, but those jobs will funded through the Public Works Solid Waste Utility Fund.
Among the budget’s other expenditures are $125,000 for a capital facility maintenance plan, $60,000 for multiple cleanup activities that are part of the well-received “Clean Sweep Week,” $100,000 for walkway improvements, $300,000 for park trails construction, $20,000 for domestic violence services and $150,000 for downtown revitalization efforts, the latter of which Nehring promised would include a public engagement process in soliciting ideas for the downtown and waterfront area on subjects ranging from infrastructure, fixtures, landscaping and signage to increased police and code enforcement measures designed to make the downtown more beautiful and crime-free.
The 2013 general fund comes in at $37.3 million, a 2.6 percent increase over the 2012 general fund spending of $36.3 million, adding up to a total budget of $105.1 million for 2013.
“Marysville is turning a corner,” said Nehring, who mentioned the library and one of the golf inter-fund loans as among those that the city has paid off. “We are starting to reach our goal of rebuilding funding again for some of the core government services we put on hold due to the unstable economy, and we are moving forward with strategic investments necessary to lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.”