The city of Marion saw its financial reserves almost depleted last year. Marion’s savings plummeted from $2.4 million to just more than $40,000 in 2012, according to the Marion Chronicle-Tribune.
This news came as no shock to some locals, such as former Indiana Wesleyan University student Daniel Curtis (alumnus ‘12), who viewed Marion’s financial resources as a troubling issue.
“Marion’s economy isn’t the greatest,” Curtis said. “If anyone wants to do anything they have to go to leave Marion. They have to go to Muncie or Indianapolis or Kokomo. Ever since RCA, [later called Thomson Consumer Electronics], went under, Marion’s just been in a slump.”
Curtis’ father was directly affected when the factory on South Adams and East 38th streets closed in 2004. According to Curtis, the effects of that closure are still being felt, pointing out other Marion business that recently have gone under, such as the White Castle on the bypass.
“I just feel like there’s a lot that’s going to have to happen. Marion’s going to have to come a long way,” said Curtis.
In an interview with The Sojourn, Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold said the city’s recent financial troubles aren’t related to jobs and businesses. According to Seybold, the depletion of Marion’s reserves is due to more than $3 million in health care spending in 2012 due to “a lot of sick people at city hall.”
Added to this stress on the city’s finances was the 3-year-old Indiana law that capped property taxes.
“In years past, when you have a health care crisis like we’re having, you’d raise taxes to cover that period,” Seybold said. “As a result of the cap, when you have a financial situation you go into your savings. So this year, we had to go into our cash reserves and a little bit last year to make sure our employees’ health bills were paid.”
According to Seybold, Marion actually underspent its budget by $1.4 million in 2012, so he expects a full recovery of reserves soon.
“To get back to the full $5-$7 million that we normally have in cash reserves, that will probably take us from ‘13 into ‘14,” Seybold said.