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'Disciplined' and 'stable' Marysville budget approved for 2014

The Marysville City Council approved the city’s proposed 2014 budget during the Nov. 25 meeting.


The Marysville City Council approved the city’s $139.1 million budget for next year, a plan that Mayor Jon Nehring describes as “stable, certainly not flush.”

The council approved the budget during the Nov. 25 city council meeting.

The city has had to weather the economic downturn like most other organizations, said Nehring, but since last year there have been some more optimistic signs.

Nehring and other city officials are proceeding with a cautious approach, he said. “We’ve consistently talked in our budget meetings with the council and the directors about an overall disciplined philosophy. A philosophy of reducing expenditures and building up general fund reserves to a minimum of ten percent of the overall general fund,” said Nehring.

The increases in funding are going mainly to streets, public safety and neighborhood improvements.

Improving transportation infrastructure is a known priority for the city.

“The street situation is one we’ve known we need to address for a number of years, in terms of finding replacement funding,” said city administrative officer Gloria Hirashima. City funding for streets has increased drastically the last three years.

The 2013 budget put $350,000 toward pavement maintenance and that will see an increase to $500,000 for 2014.

Two projects, one at Highway 529 and I-5 and another at 4th Street, will also receive Interstate Justification Reports, which will help the city gain state funding for improvements, said Nehring.

“We’re battling projects that have been on the map for 10, 12 or 15 years, that are fully planned and they have their IJRs [Interchange Justification Reports] and engineering done already. By making this initial investment, it gives us a situation where we have the designs and have the project be ‘shovel-ready’ which puts us in a lot better bargaining position for the limited dollars available,” he said.

The two reports will cost $700,000.

More of the city’s budget is going toward neighborhood improvements as well.

The second phase of the Bayview Trail and a trail on the restored Qwuloolt Estuary will be constructed using $300,000 from the city’s budget.

Neighborhood cleanup and code enforcement receives $60,000 of the annual spending plan.

The Comeford Park spray park may be open as soon as this summer and will be paid for by capital outlay funds.

Walkway improvements, including the construction of sidewalks, especially near schools, has $100,000 budgeted for it.

And in the continuing efforts to revitalize the downtown, $150,000 from the budget has been put aside.

There is one additional police officer budgeted for next year. It will also be the first full-year for five other officers, four of whom are funded by the city and one by grant.

“With public works and police, there’s always more ways we can fund those big entities and I would’ve loved to see many more positions, so we brought forward what I felt the budget could support,” said Hirashima.

The city has been active in paying off its debts, Nehring noted. Marysville finished paying off its library building debt in 2012, its public safety building debt in 2013 and refinanced another debt to save about $500,000 last year as well, he said.

A newly established capital reserve fund will allow the city to construct major buildings in the future without taking on as much debt, said Nehring.

“That doesn’t mean we’ll never take out a loan by any stretch, but it does allow us to operate from a position of strength when we have a solid capital reserve,” he said.

Last year the city succeeded in bringing reserve funds back up to 10 percent, and this year they plan to restore the depleted funds for fleet, facility and IT reserves, said Nehring.

Improving infrastructure is important for service, said Hirashima. “The feedback we get from our employees is that [infrastructure investment] is one of the most significant things we can do that improves the quality of service they are able to provide, and it’s really important to their morale,” she said.

The city’s Cedarcrest Golf Course has had its subsidy reduced to about $42,000, down from about $442,000 in 2010.

“This was a rather grave concern [in 2010]. The council and I turned it over to the Parks and Recreation department to take it on as a challenge and now they’ve taken it to the point where we’re subsidizing it at a level you would any other park,” said Nehring.

Other Council Business

The regular property levy was approved by the City Council for 2014 with a zero percent increase from last year.

The Emergency Services levy for 2014 was approved by the council, with a one percent increase from last year.

Councilmember Michael Stevens reported that the Marysville Fire District approved its budget for next year which will include two new firefighters, two new vehicles and a part-time mechanic position.

The council approved fee increases for a legal services contract with Weed, Graafstra and Benson, Inc., the city’s legal counsel. The last fee increase for the firm was in 2010.


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