Marysville City Council members are prepared to approve the city's annual operating budget during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Marysville City Council members are prepared to approve the city's annual operating budget during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Mayor Chris Schmenk said preparing the 2009 budget has been a collaborative effort between council and members of her administration.

"It is only by working together as a team that we can continue to move this fine city towards the bright future we envision," Schmenk said.

Schmenk said that while the 2009 budget is "necessarily lean on anticipated expenditures, we have included funding for those items that I believe will help us plan for and prepare for this city's future."

Schmenk said her administration prepared the 2009 budget with uncertain economic conditions in mind.

"We've become increasingly aware of how the slowdown in the national economy is impacting our local economy," she said. "Property tax and income tax revenues are in line to meet our initial revenue projections for 2008, but those revenue items tied directly to growth and development (tap fees, inspection fees, permits, etc.) have experienced a significant decrease. In addition, the interest rates earned on the city's cash reserves have decreased significantly. We anticipate these trends may continue into 2009 and have budgeted future revenues accordingly." The 2009 budget includes spending approximately $950,000 of the city's year-end General Fund cash reserves.

Schmenk said dipping into the city's cash reserves are the only way to preserve the current level of services provided to residents.

"While my desire is to reduce this deficit amount as low as possible, I realize reducing spending further will require forgoing services the city residents have come to expect and to rely upon," she said. "Previous administrations made an informal commitment to the city's bond rating agencies to maintain a General Fund cash reserve balance of approximately $3-million. The budget maintains that level of savings."

The operating budget includes a 3-percent cost-of-living wage adjustment for those employees not part of one of the city's collective bargaining units.

"This wage increase also requires related benefit costs to increase accordingly," Schmenk noted.

Included in the 2009 budget is funding for the initial stages of creating a comprehensive plan for the city.

"The city currently uses the Union County comprehensive plan that was initially approved in January, 1999 and has not been updated (by the city) since," Schmenk said. "We also included limited amounts of funding to begin developing a comprehensive park plan. These planning documents will be imperative to the city's future growth."

Initial capital improvement requests to be funded by the General Fund exceeded $1.5-million.

"We have provided funding for approximately $465,000 of these requests including limited funding for street paving ($225,000), city connectivity/sidewalk improvements ($110,000), mower replacements for the cemetery ($8,500) and Buildings and Grounds Department ($20,500) and a replacement boat motor for the Fire Department ($5,500).

The city's Enterprise Funds (Water, Sewer, Sanitation and Storm Water) will continue to be primarily funded from user fees with water and sewer system development fees as well as proceeds from residential Tax Increment Financing agreements assisting in the payment of future capital improvements and debt service on the existing utilities.

"We anticipate the Water Reclamation Facility to be on-line and treating the city's wastewater in early-2009, the water reservoir to be completed in early-2009, and the planning/engineering process to have begun on a new water treatment plant by the end of 2009," Schmenk noted. "Each of these projects will be critical for the city's future growth and economic development."