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City of Marlin in dire need of road repairs but the money 'isn't there'

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 22:55:16-04

MARLIN, TX — The City of Marlin isn't very big but it's dealing with a massive problem worth millions of dollars — damaged roads.

Every corner of Marlin has several abandoned businesses and run-down homes.

The streets are crumbling apart.

"Marlin's city roads need a whole lot of help. You know, everywhere you go, you got potholes," Marlin resident Joe Judie said.

No matter where you turn, the pavement is essentially broken up rock and dirt.

Judie said the roads are so bad that it's dangerous.

"You can trip and hurt yourself just about any road you go on," he said.

City crews are doing what they can with what little they have.

"We're working on it. It's just a building process," Derrick Marshall, Marlin's Public Works Supervisor said.

However, this is a problem that runs far deeper than just clocking in more hours.

"The issue is there has not been any major repairs on the infrastructure in decades. They are to the point to where they have to be torn up all over town and be re-did. You can't even patch them anymore," Cedric Davis, Marlin's City Manager said.

At least 150 square miles are in need of repairs with a prices tag anywhere from $60 to 100 million. It's money that Davis said "isn't there."

"Marlin and Falls County just doesn't have a tax base of that nature. In fact, we are one of the lowest in the state for it's tax base," Davis said.

Marlin's tax rate is about .77 cents per $100 of a home's property value.

Add in donations and revenue from things like sanitation, taxes, water sale or city licenses, the town's annual General Fund budget for 2020-2021 was a little over $3.6 million.

Keep in mind, the General Fund pays for all general expenses including utilities, the police and fire departments, municipal court, sanitation and parks. That leaves a small portion going to actual street repairs.

That is, after other street repair expenses like supplies and equipment costs are paid for.

"Based on the amount where we are now with our tax base, you will not fix all the streets in Marlin, even in a decade. It just won't be done," Davis said.

In the meantime, the city has $17 million worth of grant applications submitted, a portion of which was awarded.

It's also been approved to receive $1.2 million from President Biden's American Rescue Plan.

"That 1.2 will be going toward infrastructure. So once we finish up the paperwork, from my understanding, they will fund half and then the following quarter, they will fund the other half," Davis said.

It's all a very expensive, slow moving process that takes time.

"In reality, that's what it's going to take to fix it. Even if they start out small, fix some, come back, once those are fixed, do it again, do it again, do it again. Eventually Marlin will have it's infrastructure. I'm hoping sooner rather than later," Davis said.

A $2.4 million street repair bond will be proposed in November to Marlin's City Council.

It was previously rejected but Davis is hoping this time around, with better planning, Marlin's citizens will have the opportunity to make their voice heard.