Toll Brothers looking to develop Ezzell Valley
“Fast and Furious” may be a Hollywood movie title, but it aptly describes the pace of park construction by the Village of Marvin. To some council members the spending fury over the last five months worries them the most.
During a Nov. 9 special meeting, Councilman Ross Overby led a discussion concerning the capital budget outlays that according to spreadsheets he developed with Village Finance Officer, Jeff Phillyaw indicate the village exceeded the appropriated capital budget.
“The bottom line is that we are $357,000 over as of yesterday” Overby said. “Looking at our capital budget, we are overspent, on actual, paid and committed costs when you look at each line item of the budget.”
In July, the village approved a capital budget of $547,750 for the Effird Park development that council members now say was very conservative as most of the budget line items were “best-case” estimations in advance of a complete development plan.
For example, the council budgeted $50,000 for the barn restoration, but on closer examination of the existing building, they decided to replace the barn at a cost of $123,263. The anticipated costs for the road, parking lot, playground and fencing exceeded the budget by $147,458 and will actually cost $247,454.
The overall capital budget, which includes funding the Marvin Greenway, a regional library and land acquisition, is $602,750.
“When you approved the budget, you approved a budget plan,” Phillyaw said. “Any additional fund balance appropriation must be approved by this board above and beyond the budget.”
Municipalities must comply with the NC Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act, that requires local governments utilize the budgetary accounting method. Unlike private industry accounting where budgets serve as a tool for planning, forecasting and a guideline for expenditures, a municipal budget is a plan and a legal limit on spending.
Capital projects are treated differently under the LGBFCA, in that the project ordinance can exist for as long as it takes to complete the project. Capital budgets may be amended at any time but still must follow the same rules of not exceeding allocated amounts and must remain in balance.
According to publications from the N.C. School of Government, the village council has the authority to appropriate for expenditures and should expenditures exceed the budget, the council can then appropriate from fund balance to satisfy the deficit.
Projected costs and committed expenditures will exceed the initial budget by $356,787, bringing the total monies spent on the park development to $904,537.
“This may sound like we’re way over our budget – and we are,” Overby said. “We have our priorities and what I suggest we do is re-baseline our budget.”
Overby recommended the council review every line item of both the operating and capital budgets at its next regular meeting.
“We should ask ourselves; ‘What are our priorities?’” Overby said. “We may not be able to do everything all at once.”
Marvin’s fund balance on June 30, 2011 was $1,371,991, as of November, the adjusted fund balance is $397,145.99. November marks the beginning of tax receipts season and over the next three months, the Village expects to collect over $400,000.
The council will address the allocation issues at the December meeting, approve the needed budget amendments and allocate funds to the capital project fund in budgetary balance.
Council willing to discuss Ezzell Valley with Toll Brothers
Toll Brothers has expressed interest in developing the Ezzell Valley properties that was the subject of a court settlement agreement between William and Louise Nolan and the village of Marvin in March 2008.
In September 2003, the Nolans, William and Dorothy Ezzell sued after the village rejected a development application for the 106 acre property on the northwest corner of New Town and Marvin School roads The settlement agreement allowed the Nolans to develop the property under the subdivision ordinances in effect prior the village’s Interim Development Ordinance that had been approved on July 24, 2003. The settlement also excluded the developer from tree, storm water and floodplain regulations then in effect.
The council agreed to discuss issue with Toll Brothers and directed staff to explore the legal aspects of applying the settlement to a development proposal.
In other business, Finance Officer Jeff Phillyaw announced his resignation, electing to take a full my time position in the eastern part of the state. Lisa Thompson, the interim Village Administrator announced the hiring of Gina Fisher as the new finance officer. Ms. Fisher is a retired IRS senior manager with 29 years experience. Ms. Thompson also announced the hiring of Nancy Schneeberger as the Village Tax Collector. Schneeberger has served as tax collector for Wesley Chapel.