The long-awaited presentation of Martinsville reverting to town status finally occurred Tuesday night with little fanfare.
A gathering of about 50 people filled most of the available seats in Martinsville City Council chambers. Among those in attendance were former mayors Gene Teague and L.D. Oakes. Contitutional officers whose jobs would be eliminated should Martinsville revert to a town were also in attendance.
City Manager Leon Towarnicki stepped through the process of reversion supplementing his words with PowerPoint slides projected onto the wall.
The same three items detailed by Assistant City Manager and City Attorney Eric Monday last week were illustrated by Towarnicki at the meeting:
1) Taxes will decrease slightly for city residents.
2) Taxes will increase slightly for Henry County residents.
3) Services will remain essentially unchanged.
4) The city’s budget will reverse from an annual deficit to an annual surplus.
Monday, Mayor Kathy Lawson, and council members Jim Woods, and Jennifer Bowles have indicated a willingness to sit down with members of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. If an agreement between the two governing bodies could be ironed out, a costly reversion process would be avoided.
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall said last week the county would wait until the city provided details of its reversion plan before considering their next move.
Whether Tuesday night’s presentation will be enough for Henry County to agree to come to the table remains to be seen.
If discussions between Martinsville and Henry County fail, the city council will have to call a public hearing on the matter and then formerly vote to revert to begin the legal process.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt