Indian Hill and Madiera are considering sharing police and public works. Isn’t it time for Mariemont and Fairfax to do the same?
To understand the opportunities, we must first review the budgetary cost structure for the Village of Mariemont. In 2015, total disbursements were $3,243,322 and income was $3,139,322 making a deficit of $104,000. The largest item in the budget was for police services costing $1,108,066 with fire services adding $467,138. The two taken together equated to 49% of the entire operating budget.
The Village of Mariemont has about 3400 residents living in a land area of .89 square miles. Area wise, Fairfax is even smaller with .82 square miles. And yet both communities have a police force of 10 officers and independent, fully equipped fire departments. Surely, there must be some cost savings to sharing or even combining services.
My estimate (that is reinforced by opinions of other Village leaders) is that a savings of 40 percent in police and fire services could be achieved. With the combined police and fire costing $1,575,204 in 2015 that equates to cost savings of $630,000 per year.
What could be done with annual savings of $630,000?
- Eliminate garbage collection fees for residents of the Village (cost $282,527 in 2015)
- Hire a Village Administrator ($70,000)
- Eliminate the Tennis Association fees for all Mariemont residents (cost $4,612 in 2015)
- Eliminate the Swim Club fees for all Mariemont residents (cost $81,161 in 2015)
Longer Range Strategic Initiatives:
- The construction of a 200 car parking garage behind the theatre (cost $4 million or $20,000 per space)
- A formal tree management program for the aging maple tree stock in Mariemont
- Evaluate additional ways to evolve the South 80 into a recreation park and relieve the pressures on Dogwood Park
- A million dollar renovation of the Municipal Building to make it into a Municipal Center with better meeting rooms and bring it up to code for the disabled. (This would be in addition to the $400,000 for the Indian Artifacts Museum)
Taking major steps like this to reduce taxes is never easy and requires strategic leadership. I suggest we raise this issue in public discourse and with Council.