Marvin officials have cut $126,000 from the village’s operating budget and transferred that money along with $73,000 from Marvin’s reserves to cover cost overruns for Efird Park – for now.
Newly appointed Finance Officer Gina Fisher told village council members Tuesday, Nov. 29, the town retains “an unencumbered fund balance of $411,000,” and she feels confident in Marvin’s financial situation.
During a special meeting in November, council member Ross Overby said the town faced $357,000 in overruns for the park, and Overby said the council needed to revisit its operating and capital budgets to make adjustments.
At that meeting, the council also hired Fisher, to replace Jeff Phillyaw, who took another job in eastern North Carolina. Tuesday night, Fisher reported she has examined the operating and capital budgets, including the village’s obligations for Efird Park.
While the town had budgeted $602,750 for the park, Fisher documented known expenses of $801,265.
That left a gap of about $199,000, not the $357,000 cited by Overby in November. Overby did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, and later in the week, Interim Village Administrator Lisa Thompson said Overby and Phillyaw were estimating all the expenses the village may eventually incur for the park. So more cuts or reserve transfers may be necessary later.
Since the November meeting, Fisher and Thompson, with help from Overby and council member Ron Salimao, have gone through the operating budget line by line and identified $126,000 in cuts that the council could transfer to the park project.
The staff members recommended cutting:
• $50,000 in part-time services. The village budgeted for a part-time deputy, who has not been hired, for the entire year. The village already has saved that much.
• $33,000 by eliminating maintenance and repair for parks, the greenway and loop during winter months, when they’re not as necessary.
• $18,000 in professional services, for engineering and legal fees.
• $20,000 from the contingency fund.
• $9,000 in the zoning budget, which also provided for legal fees the village has not used.
• $3,000 by for furnishings and equipment for the new town hall, which has been delayed.
Salimao and council member Lanny Openshaw voted to approve the budget cuts and reserve transfer. Council member Anthony Burman dissented because he believes state rules require the town to keep a larger contingency fund. Thompson and Fisher are checking on that requirement.
Village officials attribute a large part of the cost overrun on the unforeseen need to construct a new pavilion/barn. “We originally hoped to revamp the existing barn to use as a pavilion, but after analysis, engineers said a new structure would be better meet the needs of our citizens,” Thompson wrote in an email.