Oct. 5th, 2005

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Marlin City Council adopts budget for 2005-2006 year
by Denise Schoppe
Staff writer

The Marlin Democrat
October 05, 2005

The Marlin City Council adopted the 2005 - 2006 budget for the city and established the 2005-2006 tax rate for the city during a special emergency council meeting on Tuesday, September 26.

The new budget shows a projected deficit in the general fund of $543,760 and a surplus in the water fund of $660,883. The two funds combined bring a $117,123 surplus in the next year's budget.

"The council has authorized raises in the amount of 4% across the board for the employees at $67,600 so we have actually a working buffer of $49,523," Randy Holly, Marlin city manager, said.

Holly said he felt the buffer would be adequate because of the investment made of $130,000 on new water meters.

"We need to have a similar investment next year of another $130,000 in order to get all the meters replaced," Holly said. "We believe conservatively that after two years we will generate about $380,000 just by measuring the water that our citizens are actually consuming."

Holly said the despite inadequate records, he feels that the council has set aside enough in the budget for chemicals for the water and sewer treatment plant, supplies, and electrical costs. However, due to the fluctuating price of gasoline, he anticipates having to make an amendment to the budget to alter what is set aside for fuel.

Included in the budget packet was projected expenditures and revenues for the 2006-2007 budget. Among the items listed is the $370,000 Texas Water Development Board loan payments starting on July 1, 2007.

"We have not budgeted any of the money for that, but the reason being is the investment in the water meters," Holly said. "We believe that we are going to not only be able to make the loan payment back, but also have additional flexibility with revenues with meters."

Improvements to the water system are projected to save $10,500 on water treatment chemicals, $30,000 on a sewer permit fee that will no longer be necessary, and $8,000 on sewer chemicals.

"I would like to compliment [Mr. Holly] on the manner that [he] handled this budget," Elizabeth Nelson, council member said. "We did not have to have two meetings every week for six weeks to get it done."

Following passage of the budget, the council approved amending the tax rate for 2005-2006.

"The new effective tax rate is 0.6036," Holly said. "Of that, 0.1304 is necessary to pay the $147,000 set aside for bonded indebtedness."

The effective tax rate is the rate that would provide the taxing unit with approximately the same amount of revenue it had the year before on properties taxed in both years.

Marlin had an increase in total assessed evaluation of $112 million dollars as opposed to $111 million dollars from the previous year.

Following the meeting, the council praised the city's actions in helping evacuees from Hurricane Rita.

"The community responded very well to the need to take care of our brothers and sisters," Holly said. "A lot of people put in a lot of hours."

Holly said the volunteer fire department carried the brunt of the service. He estimated they helped 500 - 600 people. At city hall, approximately 30 people were helped and five chose to spend the night at city hall. Holly said he had several evacuees express pleasure over their time in Marlin.

"It was stressful," Holly said, "but very rewarding,"
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Lending a hand to others brings positive outcomes

Nise's Notes
by Denise Schoppe

The Marlin Democrat
October 08, 2005

Stories continue to circulate about Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. It seems no one went unaffected, either through family, friends or direct experience.

While there are indeed stories of horror, there are also stories of help. Central Texas quickly became a refuge to those seeking shelter. The City of Marlin was, and continues to be, among the communities helping others.

Doors opened. None wider than those of the Volunteer Fire Department, where over an estimated 500 weary travellers found rest, food, a warm smile and a helping hand. City Hall opened its doors, as did churches, motels and rent houses. The McDonald's parking lot overflowed, and tired travellers took time to rest in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Food donations poured in even as local citizens worried for their own safety should the storm come this way.

I've always felt Marlin to be one of the friendliest towns I've ever had the pleasure to enter and many evacuees from South Texas felt the same way. One couple even found their time to be such a delight that they indicated they may relocate to Marlin in the future.

I firmly believe in the idea that you get what you give, reap what you sow. Marlin's open attitude to those in their time of need will not go unnoticed and unappreciated.

Now, the Marlin VA hospital has opened up and been given control of to FEMA. Nursing home patients who have spent weeks in the uncomfortable conditions of buses, gymnasiums and anywhere else they could be "fit in" have found a new home and refuge in Marlin.

Once again, city citizens are being challenged to open their hearts to these people and their families. They're being asked to work with the facility's personnel and make these people so displaced from home feel that they are at home.

For those concerned with "what do we get from this," take a look at the potential for a boost to the economy this presents. Family of the patients and the personnel will shop our stores, eat at our restaurants, and some will worship in our churches.

Many complain that Marlin is "drying up." The best way to stop that from happening is to nurture the city. Plant the seeds of hope and determination. Welcome other people into the town and make them indeed look at the city and give it consideration as a possible place to live. Instead of pushing these people away, bring them into the fold.

Marlin was a bustling city thanks to the bathhouses back in the day. It was a medical hub that people came to visit from all over the country. Perhaps it's through opening our doors to people once again for medical purposes that things can turn back around.

We offered the hungry food and the tired a place to rest. We now offer the sick and special needs patients a place to get the medical aid they need. This is a chance to continue helping our fellow man. Grasp this opportunity with both hands.

Even if the benefits of helping others is not obvious, it is there. It is there through the rewarding feeling that comes from seeing the smile and relief on someone else's face. It is in the feeling of accomplishment.

Instead of asking, "What do I get out of this?" perhaps the question should be, "What can I do for you?" I assure you, the answer to the first question comes as a result of the second.


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