Martinsville discusses consolidation, reversion

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Conversations are beginning again about the possibility that Martinsville could consolidate with Henry County or revert to a town.

Martinsville's mayor says he remembers the city and county discussing it as far back as the 1970's.

According to the mayor, the city is facing about a million dollar shortfall in the budget.

He says the revenues are stagnant and something needs to be done.

They don't want to raise taxes, but they don't want to cut services either.

"We can no longer provide the services we're providing without doing some very significant cuts. It's time to think about, is there a way to change the game? One of the ways to change the game is to change the structure of government," says mayor Gene Teague.

The mayor stresses the city is not broke.

"We're not broke. Our fund balance is strong. The issue is on an annual basis our revenue and our expenses aren't matching," he says.

If the city were to consolidate with Henry County, that would mean all services including schools, police and fire would consolidate as well.

If they were to revert to a town, the mayor says residents would have to write two checks for taxes instead of one, but for the $100,000 homeowner, it would cost less being a town resident.

"As a taxpayer myself, I don't have a problem writing two checks that saves me 300 bucks versus writing one check that costs me $300 more," says Teague.

The mayor says regardless what comes out of this discussion, the city will survive.

The mayor says the city has sent a letter to the Henry County Board of Supervisors requesting to have a conversation about consolidating.

They have not heard back at this time.

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