City budget increases to cover general operations

by Toni Hopper

The city budget for Marlow’s Fiscal Year 2024 is up by 13.7 percent over the FY23 budget, and the breakdown is a 6.2 percent increase for the General Fund budget, and 7.5 percent increase for the Marlow Municipal Authority. City Administrator Jason McPherson said that the increase is because of the rising costs of operating supplies that affect all departments.

The General Fund has been approved for $2,819,410, and the Marlow Municipal Authority’s budget is at $7,525,410, for a total of $10,344,820.

Two new additions are a necessity as the city continues its mission. “Our main mission of the city is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community,” McPherson said.

“We will see a fire union for the first time in the City of Marlow. Also, a new 3-year contract with the police union,” he said. The other is the addition of a School Resource Officer (SRO) that will be partially paid by Marlow Public Schools. With that addition, a new unit will be purchased that will be seen parked outside the various school campuses. In a recent city council meeting, it was mentioned that schools with resource officers and the presence of a police cruiser act as a deterrent. Included in the budget will be a purchase of three police units, replacing two aging units and adding the additional unit for the SRO. The city council approved in last week’s meeting to replace the two aging units with a 2021 and a 2022 Dodge Charger.

General Fund departments are Community Services (code enforcement), City Clerk, Municipal Court, Lake Taylor, Police, Fire, Streets/Parks, 911 Dispatch, Cemetery, Library, Animal Control, Senior Citizen (food delivery/building maintenance.)

MMA departments are the City Administrator, Electric, Water/Sewer, Sanitation (trash), and the Swimming Pool.

There are also several major street and maintenance projects planned, but not in the budget numbers. One of those includes an asphalt overlay between Main and Caddo Streets. This is known as the Railroad Street project, which is actually part of the FY23 budget. Gorman Paving will start the work around July 31 and the project is estimated to take a month. The bid was $248,700.

“This is a project under the Municipal Roads Drilling Activity Fund (MRDAF) through ODOT. City’s share is approximately $84,000,” McPherson noted.

There is also the need for replacing concrete aqueducts in the right-of-way near city streets, in three areas where there are underground drainage issues. The storm drainage project would be paid using American Rescue Plan Act funds but is in the early planning stages. The three areas are 4th Street from the high school to Cherokee St., Cheyenne St. from 6th to Broadway, and Apache St. from Railroad to the Creek.

“All three need significant repair. Marlow received approximately $775,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act, which has specific parameters in which the money can be spent. It has to be spent by the end of the Fiscal Year 2026.”
McPherson said they don’t even know at this time if it is affordable. In those areas, the ground is collapsing. Certain areas have been taped off with caution tape for public safety reasons.

A few other projects in the upcoming year’s improvement plan:

• Phase 4 of the Transmission Line Pole Replacement Project – MMA owns 39-pole transmission line from Scott Road east of town down Nabor Street through Redbud Park to substation. This is an 8-phase project to replace all wood (original from 1970’s) to steel poles. 15 have been completed. This would be 5 more.

• Digger Truck and Trencher for Electric Department – replacing aging equipment.

• Pick-up for Water/Sewer – replacing a 2008 model.

• Cemetery tractor – Improve efficiency for cemetery operation.

• GIS Mapping of Cemetery. Outward-facing maps for public consumption, including the cemetery map will be added to the city website in FY25.

• Upgrades to 2011 Fire response pick-up – lights, reflective decals, tires and equipment storage.
The city has 44 full-time city employees and 5 part-time employees.

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