Council endorses tax revaluation, learns about financial issues
Opening up their two-day planning retreat, the Marvin Village Council became the latest Union County town to voice an opinion on the proposed tax revaluation. By unanimous vote, the council endorsed the revaluation idea. Mayor Pro Tem Ron Salimao cited a provision of the resolution which stated “Whereas, the Village Council believes that accuracy, fairness and equal protection are key values that should be high priorities for municipal and county governments;”, going on to say “our citizens are paying more than they should be.”
His comments were echoed by Mayor Nick Dispenziere. “The Revaluation should be done, as our area has been hardest hit and if the values do go down, then we need to be ready to work with the new numbers,” Dispenziere said. “Raising taxes is not an option”.
To date, only the municipalities of Marvin and Mineral Springs have voiced support of the scheduled revaluation, Monroe and Indian Trail passed resolutions opposing the revaluation and the Weddington Council voted down a resolution in support of the revaluation.
It is expected that the County Commissioners will address the issue of continuing with the 2012 revaluation at its regular meeting on Monday, March 7.
The Council added two items dealing with the loan from Bank of America to the Retreat agenda. The first item was to discuss previously undisclosed loan expenses and second to discuss investment options for the large amount of cash now in the Village’s general fund. As was expected, the Village of Marvin closed seven year, $750,000, 2.71% fixed rate loan on Thursday, February 24.
The first concerned a letter from Bank of America detailing $15,000 in legal fees, $8000 in excess of the contract, which according to the statement was due to the concern of possible legal action by the Walden Pond Home Owners Association, who opposed the acquisition of the Efird property.
The installment purchase agreement signed between the Village of Marvin and Bank of America in late December 2010, stated “the bank’s legal fees will not exceed $7000 assuming the Bank’s attorney prepares loan documents and the Borrowers Bond Council provides tax opinion or $3000 review the loan document pared by the Borrowers Council.”
Village Administrator Terri Patton noted to the Council that she learned of the increase in legal fees, after the Village closed on the loan and all transactions complete. Mayor Dispenziere contended that these expenses were incurred “because of (Bank of America] concerns, not ours”, referring to the fight with the Walden Pond homeowners’ association.
Councilman Anthony Burman, continued his criticism of the Bank of America loan officer, who he felt acted in a political way.
“I question what her motivations were behind all this,” Burman said. “I think this is very bad business practice, I’ve spoken with people higher up at Bank of America, and they tell me that this is not the way they like to do business”.
Questions concerning the validity of the bank’s claim will take more legal review, as Burman and fellow council member Ross Overby both pointed out that the contract that originally was signed pertained to a purchase of real property which did not occur, as the bank pulled the loan and Marvin was forced to buy the property with cash from its general fund.
In addition to the issues concerning the bank loan, the Village Council discussed how to best invest Marvin’s cash liquidity in interest-bearing certificates of deposit that won’t exceed the requirements of the loan. They also listened to five year budget review by Interim Finance Officer Kim Rogers and agreed on a timeline beginning Feb. 28 and ending with a vote after a public hearing on June 8.
In day two of the retreat, the Council was joined by members of the Village Planning Board, including Mary Shkut, Matt Noonkester, Peter Gaiser and Paul Cappiello and the Parks, Recreation and Greenways Advisory Board members John Baresich, Kristie Maher and KaryAnn Curtis.
Foremost in the discussions was the Marvin-Efird Park project outline developed by Councilman Ross Overly, who volunteered and was then appointed as project manager by unanimous vote of the Council.
Beginning with the PRG board Chairman John Baresich, and followed by Planning Board Chair Mary Shkut, the Council heard reports on Marvin Loop/Chimneys Greenway, the Land-Use Plan, discussion of Subdivision Ordinances and the Table of Uses recently revised by the Planning Board.
As with most municipal retreats and planning conferences, the Council closed the event with comments. Most of whom, thanked the attendee’s for their participation, but one reoccurring theme seemed to be present throughout the weekend – the need for more volunteers. The Marvin Council is looking to fill vacancies on the Planning Board, PRG board, the Design Review board and one seat on the Village Council.