An Open Letter to the Citizens of Marvin from Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Burman
As Mayor Pro Tem for the Village of Marvin I believe that you as residents should be kept informed and deserve to know the truth about projects currently underway or being considered. This is my response to the politically motivated and inaccurate flyer you received in your newspaper boxes this past week by a small, vocal minority of residents and non-residents.
It is disappointing that there is a segment in our community that continues to spread half-truths, hyperbole, and scare-tactics for personal benefit. The ironic part of the letter is that the author is not saying the Village shouldn’t build a community center or Village Hall, but that the Village shouldn’t build it at Marvin-Efird Park. The letter even states “Yes, it would be nice to have a Center for the Village…” The author wants a new building, but it has to be where they want it located.
In the summer of 2010, when the Village of Marvin made the first offer to purchase the 27.67 acres of land on New Town Road, there was always the intention that this land would fulfill the number one desire of all previous Village surveys, which was a passive park (meaning no athletic fields or structured recreation, other than a playground). Part of the draw to this property was the idea that the old Efird family home could be renovated into a community center and/or Village Hall. Engineering and architectural studies show that it would be more cost-effective to build anew than to renovate the existing house and bring it up to commercial code.
The concept of a community center at Marvin-Efird Park has been discussed for a period of years. There are many examples – here are just three:
1. At the September 14, 2010 Council meeting, the Council held a Public Hearing and later adopted Resolution RS-2010-09-01, which included a community center as an intended use at Marvin-Efird Park.
2. An article in the October 1, 2010 issue of the Union County Weekly titled “A park that makes cents” quoted Councilman Ron Salimao stating that he envisioned a community center in the park.
3. The Village’s PARTF Grant Application, approved at the January 13, 2011 Council meeting, has discussion about a community center.
When Councilman Salimao and I ran for office in 2009, we literally spoke to more than one thousand people about our platform and issues facing the Village. People couldn’t believe there was no park, no community center, and that the Village Hall was still being rented.
Some other issues I would like to address are:
1. What are presented in the letter as facts are either incorrect or taken out of context. For example, the letter quotes a figure for our rent, but does not take into account other costs of the rental. The fact the author chose to only represent one figure, when the actual cost-benefit was readily available, begs the question: Did the author do their homework, or did they cherry-pick what figures they wanted to include to manipulate you? Either way, the heart of the issue is their credibility.
2. In addition, the letter states, “At this rate the payback on spending just the $400,000 is more than 30 years.” Using the author’s logic, it would be much cheaper for everyone if they stayed in their first apartment and not purchase a house, as it will take 30 years to pay your house off. If our analysis leads us to do this project, it will be paid off in 2.5 to 6 years – NO borrowing costs and NO tax increase necessary.
3. The letter states this can “cost you a lot more than $400,000, maybe as much as $700,000.” I’m not sure where the $700,000 figure came from, as there’s been no discussion of spending anywhere near that amount. By contrast, every other municipality in the county that has built or is building a new town hall has spent over $1 million, with the exception of Mineral Springs, who still spent more than Marvin plans.
4. The letter states this will be “a community center you can rent. Yep a taxpayer subsidized service you can ‘rent’ for more of your dollars.” There are only four out of more than 20 subdivisions in Marvin that have clubhouses, and those residents who already pay for the clubhouse with their HOA dues have to pay to “rent” their facility, including a number of people known to be distributing the letter in question. This community center will provide an amenity that more than 80% of the subdivisions do not have, in addition to providing revenue (not factored into the letter) for the Village, similar to the barn at the park.
5. The letter makes alternative suggestions for allocating money in addition to supporting a new community center at a different location. While these are all noble ideas, they are nothing but red herrings used to divert attention away from the discussion at hand – which is really not about a building at all. You already pay for these ideas through the appropriate taxing authorities, the county, and your separate fire tax.
6. Finally, the letter states “One Councilman suggested a public private partnership in an open and accessible parcel of land elsewhere to defray the cost. The rest of the Council ignored this suggestion.” I believe all members of the Council would embrace a concept such as this, but the Councilman put no proposal on the table.
You elected me because I look at all the facts, am detail-oriented, ask the tough questions, and know my commitment to open and transparent government. Those who know me know that I base my decisions and votes on those reasons; not political pressure, emotion, or pressure from “special-interest groups”, including those masquerading themselves as “concerned citizens” hiding behind anonymity.
I encourage you to contact your elected officials, attend meetings, and stay involved. An informed and engaged public is what makes a good community a great community. Once informed, I ask that you base your opinions on fact, not fiction.
Anthony J. Burman
Mayor Pro Tem
Village of Marvin
February 7, 2013