Feb 082013
 

Anthony Burman
Mayor Pro Tem

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.

{Signed}

Anthony J. Burman
Mayor Pro Tem
Village of Marvin
February 7, 2013

Sep 252009
 

A
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.

Mar 132008
 

Waxhaw - The monster town

The Village of Waxhaw is viewed by many bordering subdivisions as an urban predator, an rogue municipality looking to bolster it’s tax-base after years of subjugating itself to the development community, gullably buying into the myth they spout “Build the roof tops and commercial growth will come”. Waxhaw has yet to learn what every county taxpayer now knows, that growth doesn’t pay its own way.

Currently Waxhaw has 6000 houses permitted to be built. The impact on town services, traffic, schools and quality of life was apparently never a concern to Waxhaw’s council. The mindset being we can just reach out and grab a high-end subdivision here and there, but eventually the commercial retail base will shoulder the tax load. Current and past Council ignorance and arrogance has turned lovely old Waxhaw into a municipal pariah.

Opposite ends of Providence

The Village of Marvin is on most accounts the opposite of Waxhaw. Over the years, Marvin has carefully developed itself into the kind of community most people moving to Union County wish to live. Their zoning maintains a strict one house per acre, wide lot setbacks and view-shed buffers that sets Marvin development apart. Add low taxes, a green-way, an equestrian community, close proximity to Charlotte, escalating home values and you can see why Marvin is so attractive.

Sure, Marvin could have allowed high-density 4 house per acre development, it could have allowed commercial development to build and fill in the flood plain, it could have given conditional use permits based on empty sketch plans, allowed the clear cutting it’s old growth trees, levied a 34¢ tax-rate (Marvin’s is 5¢) and annex county land for more high-density growth — just to benefit the town’s favorite developer buddies.

But then we’d have two Waxhaws on Providence Road.

Fear Factor

The fear of a Waxhaw annexation recently motivated both the Providence Glen and Weddington Chase subdivisions to seek protection by annexing into Marvin. All the hub-bub is over what the Marvin council actually did; accept Weddington Chase and reject Providence Glen.

Recent newspaper articles and letters to the editor expose the differing viewpoints between the Marvin Council and homeowners in Providence Glen.

Charlotte Observer: Not good enough for Marvin

Charlotte Observer: Changed mind in Marvin

The Providence Glen subdivision is asking for voluntary annexiation, they have petitioned for entry into Marvin. The petition itself does not give them automatic entry — acceptance is subject to the vote of council and the US. Department of Justice.

The Marvin Council has dought hole worries too — areas of open land, in and about Marvin still under county zoning.

The Village of Wesley Chapel and it’s “Space Mountain’ power substation built on a county doughnut can attest to what can happen when you don’t take action to project yourself from landbarons and developer-friendly commissioners.

Some homeowners in Hunter Oaks and Somerset have expressed interest in voluntarily annexing into Marvin too. If Marvin granted every annexation petition,including Hunter Oaks and Somerset, the village would more than double, almost triple in population overnight.

Does it make a difference for a suitor to come to the altar willingly, on his own accord or because he has a shotgun barrel pressed against his backside?

Prudent, well considered decisions must be made that serves the need of Marvin’s future. I am sure Marvin’s council is up to it.

Poor Heathwood

The fact of the matter is that currently Waxhaw does not have any stated design on Providence Glen, but given Waxhaw’s appetite, that could change on a whim.

Pity the residents of Heathwood, who like Providence Glen, are trying to stay out of Waxhaw grips, which is currently working to forceably annex this community. To paraphase homeowner letters to the editor, “We don’t need your stinking tax rate and services – leave us the hell alone!”.

Unfortunately for Heathwood, the barons of Waxhaw are building an empire and no one within reach is safe.