During the April 15 council meeting, Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson and Finance Director Erik Montague gave a preliminary presentation on the recommended budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The total revenue is projected to increase by 9 percent, or $2.8 million from the current fiscal year. The three main sources of revenue for Marana are through sales taxes, intergovernmental/state shared revenues and developmental revenues. 

Sales tax revenues are projected to increase by $1.5 million in the coming fiscal year, which officially begins July 1. 

Davidson said most of the sales tax revenues will come from residential construction projects. State shared revenue, which is the town’s second largest portion of revenue, is expected to also increase by about $500,000. 

As for developmental revenues, there is expected to be a 21-percent growth in residential and commercial development, with an estimated 600 permits issued for this next year. 

The Town of Marana expects to see a lot of residential and commercial growth in the next year. The projected total amount of revenue is $35.5 million.

Davidson also highlighted the town’s investment plan, which highlighted anticipated expenses next year.

“We wanted to have a thoughtful organized approach on how we want to invest new dollars,” Davidson said.

On the other hand, expenditures will be allocated toward existing employees, new employee positions and resources and tools. The town wants to encourage existing employees to stay by increasing salaries to match, or go above the market rate and recognize their job performance by giving one-time bonuses. 

In personnel, the town looks to add four police officers to the Marana police force. Two of the officers will be paid through the town budget, while the other two will be covered through grant funds. 

The Marana council also discussed the reserve fund, in which councilmembers expressed concern about two projects that amount to about $14 million. The equestrian arena facility, for Heritage River Park, is estimated to cost the town $6.5 million in reserve funds, and a planned sewer extension line from Gladden Farms to the Tangerine Road interchange – connecting it to Sahuaro Bloom is estimated to cost $7.8 million.

Council concerns centered around the $2 million up-front costs for the Heritage Park equestrian arena. The up -front costs call for land grading and utility line installations and preparations.

Even with the additional cost, the majority of the council strongly encouraged town staff to move forward with the plan.

“Let’s be bold as a town and let’s do something that’s good and big – as long as we can afford it. This is a good project,” said Councilman Dave Bowen.

A tentative budget will be brought back to the council for further consideration at the regular meeting on May 20.

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