Village moves forward, pays in cash
The Village of Marvin completed the Walden Pond property acquisition on Wednesday, Feb. 9, two days ahead of schedule, paying $950,000 in cash for what will be their first park.
Utilizing half of the Village’s $1.8 million general fund, the action came on the heels of winning unanimous approval from the Local Government Commission to finance the park property acquisition, a threatened legal action by Walden Pond Homeowners Association and last minute additional conditions placed on the loan approval by their bank.
The additional bank loan requirements led one councilman to openly question the bank’s motivations, alluding to the possibility of political intrigue being the source.
“The whole thing is very fishy, I question the motivation of the loan officer”, Marvin council member Anthony Burman said. “We were very upfront with the loan officer concerning opposition to the park, we were assured that the bank understood the circumstances and it would not be an issue.” Burman said that negotiations were still ongoing between the Village attorney and the bank.
As originally envisioned by the Village Council, Marvin would borrow the funds required for land acquisition, allowing the future pursuits of park land, greenways and equipment utilizing their healthy cash reserves. The very favorable interest rates available to municipalities made that course more appealing, but the Council enjoyed the comfort in knowing that in the worse case, they had the cash to move forward with their plans.
As a prerequisite, the Village of Marvin had to seek approval from the Local Government Commission for authority to enter into a loan agreement. The LGC helps determine project feasibility, financial requirements and financing instrument; upon approval, the LGC monitors the sale, delivery and repayment of debt.
Marvin’s Local Government Commission hearing was held Tuesday, Feb. 8 in Raleigh. The Village’s application was contested by the Walden Pond Homeowners Association representative Robert Stack, who presented the HOA opposition and was joined at the hearing by Paul Schneider, Dan Mays and Joseph Pomykacz.
The HOA presented documentation, which included Marvin Council meeting minutes, printed web-pages from their opposition website, newspaper articles and a letter from their attorney, Christopher M. Duggan, challenging the Village’s financing application, on grounds it violated North Carolina statute, by failing to give proper notice to the public of its intentions to develop a park and failing to notify the LGC of pending litigation concerning an involuntary annexation case.
Presenting for the Village was their attorney Robynn Moriartes, who with Mayor Nick Dispenziere and Village Administrator Terri Patton.
The nine-member local government commission includes the State Treasurer Janet Crowell, Secretary of Revenue David Hoyle and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall as permanent members.
During Marvin’s regular monthly meeting which coincided with the LGC hearing earlier in the day, the Village Council approved an array of resolutions necessary to cover the different contingencies that may occur to meet the intended close date.
They began by approving a budget resolution to transfer the necessary funds for an outright purchase. The acquisition cost of the Efird property is $950,000.00 and Marvin has $1.8 million in available cash.
In addition to the budget action, Village Council unanimously approved a resolution to permit the signing of an installment contract, should the bank reconsider the loan and a “Reimbursement” resolution as recommended by the bank, where the Village will pay cash for the property and then seek to refinance the purchase price, giving the bank time to reevaluate conditions.
The Village attorney stated the bank had concerns over threatened litigation by the adjoining homeowners and preferred the recommended course.
The Ad Hoc Committee for Walden Pond, the homeowners who had threatened a lawsuit, congratulated Marvin on finalizing the purchase, in a statement given to Union County Weekly Wednesday night.
“We congratulate the Village Council on gaining the approval of the LGC to move forward on their $750,000 loan agreement with Bank of America and the purchase of the Efird property for use as a passive park for the Village of Marvin,” the statement, written by Committee member Paul Schneider, said.
“Our expectation is that council will follow through on their stated intentions to develop the passive park in a manner that is in keeping with the natural setting of the land, with uses that are truly passive and in peaceful harmony with its surroundings and nearby residential neighbors,” the statement reads. “Marvin residents and close-by communities expect that the park will be developed with thoughtful sensitivity to all affected neighbors and will be an asset that we can all be proud of.”
In other business, the Village Council Feb. 8 approved the agenda for its annual planning retreat which takes place on February 25-26 and officially approved the appointment of county commissioner Kim Rogers as an interim finance officer.