Sep 252009

fter witnessing the automobile giants & banks line up for billions in bailouts last fall, why shouldn’t a local PTA seize on the concept and boldly ask government to pay for a walking track at Marvin Elementary? After all, it is a worthy project.

walking-silhouette-clip-art-main_smApparently, funding for the walking track that had been accumulating over years from raffles and collections, was spent on ‘technology’ instead, by a previous principal. So to some, a ‘Bailout’ is the quickest solution to get what they want.

The timing of this request neatly coincides with the November election and from the emails in circulation, pressure is being applied to the incumbents running for re-election and candidates vying for votes. Can you say ‘Pushing Politicians to Pander’ 3 times fast.

On Saturday, September 26 at 9:00 am, the Village of Marvin is holding a ‘Special Meeting’, without public comments I might add, to discuss the proposal from the Marvin Elementary PTA that the Village support monetarily the construction of a the track on school property. The proposal includes a 1/5 mile walking track, irrigation and maintenance for 3 years. Mind you the concept involves the Village giving the funding, but ownership, of course, remains with the UCPS and Marvin Elementary. The Village’s PGR (Parks, Greenways & Recreation Advisory) board even floated the idea of building a Pavilion & Farmers market adjoining the track.

What makes this a non-starter in my view, is that only a small number of Marvin residents will actually benefit, but then again as the Mayor said, “this is the only school in Marvin!”

By the way of comparison, those of you living in Marvin, with children attending Sandy Ridge Elementary, your PTA paid for your walking track without any taxpayer contributions from the Village of Marvin or any other town.

I wouldn’t want to give the impression that Marvin Elementary PTA is coming to the table empty handed, no they’ve accumulated $10,000 to contribute to the estimated $65,000 cost of the project. Unlike a typical taxpayer funded project, like a recreational park, Marvin residents would only be allowed to use the track after 6:15pm and weekends.

The project is still a work in process, but unless lighting is added to the plan, the track will be of no use during the winter hours, unless you like to walk with a miners light or a torch, this further reduces the value to taxpayers, however justified.

We are in a recession, the economy is tough for most of us, so perhaps I am being too hard on the local beneficiary/proponents of the walking track project. Actually, like Oliver Twist, the PTA has every right to ask for more. My objection is if the Marvin Council buckles and says ‘yes’.

Just last month, the town of Weddington was grappling with a proposal to give $145,000 to Weddington High School for a weight & conditioning room. A number of residents and candidates for office came out and blasted (to coin a phrase) the Weddington Council over the idea, which they eventually turned down.

What remains to be seen in Marvin is whether the Council will recognize their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and turn down the PTA Moms and as important, for voters to see if any of the candidates running for office has the fortitude to risk the scorn and rejection to do the ‘right thing’ and advocate the protecting of taxpayers money. It doesn’t get any clearer than this.