It is deeply troubling to read in more than one news article this past week that the State Auditor is just about ready to conduct an audit of the City of Marysville’s finances based on outdated information from the City's 2016-17 Audit (source: Sacramento Bee, October 25, 2019, These 3 Northern California cities have shaky finances. Can they recover?).
For the record, in June of 2016, Marysville voters passed a 1% General Sales Tax. In less than two years, the City’s General Fund Reserve has gone from $269,729 (as of 6-30-16) to $2,456,504 (as of 6-30-18) and from total General Fund Revenues of $7,385,154 (FY16-17) to $9,252,199 (FY18-19). In Fiscal Year 2019-20, General Fund Revenues are projected to exceed $10 million. Furthermore, the City’s S&P and Moody’s bond ratings moved up for the second year in a row to ‘A/Stable’ and ‘BAA2’, respectively.
The City is also realizing the tax benefits of two marijuana dispensaries, as well as opening its doors to allow for indoor Cannabis cultivation, lab testing, volatile extraction and edible manufacturing.
Just a month ago, the City issued new and reissued old bonds for two burdensome liabilities - its unfunded pension liability and a Certificate of Participation for real property – the total savings to the City will be approximately $385K per year and more than $9 million over the life of both bonds. The City is also currently refinancing a sewage bond that is expected to bring additional savings to the City’s Enterprise/Sewage Fund.
In addition, cost recovery efforts have been instituted in both the Fire and Community Development Departments, as well as realizing cost savings by changing medical insurance providers, scrutinizing and updating historic contracts and revisiting old payment plans.
The City has also developed a financial model in order to forecast revenues and expenses over a seven-year horizon, plan for the future, and prepare for future changes in the economy.
In addition to all of these efforts, the City is also on the cusp of updating its 32-year old General Plan to develop a 20-20 vision for a revitalized Marysville that is anticipated to lead to more growth, development and economic opportunity. It’s also developing a financial strategy and plan to address its deteriorating roads and other infrastructure challenges.
Unfortunately, the State Auditor’s damaging and outdated remarks only further hinder the renaissance of cities like Marysville by deterring already difficult to attract private investment and public-public partnerships, as well as exacerbating historic and negative stereotypes of the City.
There are plenty of positive stories to tell about the City of Marysville, including its improved financial future. Hopefully moving forward, more media outlets will be interested in telling those stories instead of the ones that keep us living in the past.
City Manager, City of Marysville