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City adjusts 2006 budget to cover crime, road work
MARYSVILLE Bad guy issues have the city reaching into reserves to shore up the 2006 budget with additional money, but the money-losing golf course may be turning the corner.
The Marysville City Council voted to boost last years expenditures by $1.5 million to pay for additional road work, criminal prosecutions and more rented jail beds from other jurisdictions. Additional sales tax revenues of $881,191 will soften the blow, since most of that money was a one-time take from construction sales taxes on new buildings in Marysville, and the city will only have to dip into general fund reserves for about $200,000.
Putting criminals behind bars cost the city $62,804 more than anticipated and keeping them there added an unexpected $137,196 to the city budget. The city contracts with other jurisdictions and pays them to house prisoners, according to chief administrative officer Mary Swenson. The city coffers have to pay for the judges gavel.
We dont keep all of the prisoners in Marysville, she explained. You cant really always anticipate the sentencing the judge is going to do.
The other hits to the budget are actually good news, since the long stretch of hot weather last summer allowed crews to complete more paving. While the sun was shining and the asphalt was hot, workers were able to lay down more blacktop than planned. That cost the city an additional $915,000, but was work that would have been done this year, according to finance director Sandy Langdon.
The road construction was a project that we had anticipated doing, Langdon explained. The weather was better than we thought. We thought we would be finishing it up in 07. It usually doesnt happen that way.
We just kept rolling, Swenson joked, noting that some of the money for the road work was going to come from grants received after the books were closed.
The golf course has long been the albatross around the treasurys neck, and last year a city-wide blue ribbon committee formulated a plan to wean Cedarcrest Golf Course off of the Marysville budget. It currently loses about $250,000 per year due to financing costs of a course remodel designed to keep the course competitive. Without the finance changes the course would be operating in the black, and the committee advice is paying off, with an additional $70,000 in revenue rolling in. Tournament fees brought in $25,000 and a restructured membership fee schedule grossed another $35,803. The remainder was $10,000 from the sale of fixed assets.
The golf course is still borrowing money, but the changes we have put into place from the recommendations of the golf committee are making a difference, Swenson said.
The city hired a new course director last year and on Monday, Feb. 12 hired a new course professional. Cedarcrest will focus on direct marketing to lure more golfers to the course on 67th Avenue NE and 84th Street NE.
We are trying to make the golf course more autonomous, said Marysville Parks and Recreation department director Jim Ballew. They need to be on their own.
That might be working, according to two Marysville-born sisters who played the course for the first time last Saturday. Heather Shelter lives in Everett and Jennifer Shelter lives in Seattle. They were playing in a foursome on Feb. 10 with Matt Smith of Everett and Rick Avellino of Seattle. The two said they knew the course was here, but never set foot on the fairways before.
We have never played here before, said Jennifer before teeing off at the turn. They are part of the key demographic the course is pursuing: anyone with money to pay greens fees, especially from the wider Puget Sound area.
Earl Spitzer and Bill Raser of Lake Stevens are two regulars who said they are much happier with the course. Raser said the greens were lumpy last fall after they were plugged and sanded, a twice annual maintenance chore that aerates the bent grass and top dresses it with new soil. He said they werent top-dressed as well as they should have been, but are now up to snuff. Cedarcrest is now his home course.
Its the best course you can play around here, said Spitzer.