MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Reversion is a word often heard around Martinsville, but Martinsville Mayor Gene Teague believes many people may not know what it really means.
Simply put, it means Martinsville would be called a town instead of a city and some or all of the city's departments, like the school system and police department, would either be eliminated or combined with departments in Henry County.
"I think the city would be better off as a town. I think our residents would be better off as a town," Teague said.
Teague said that if the city does not revert, bigger and bigger cuts to department budgets will likely have to be made each fiscal year in order to balance the city's budget.
"That's the information that we have to keep putting out there," Teague said. "At some point, if it gets to be painful enough to remain a city, then our residents will tell us we're ready to make a change."
Combining the two governments could also potentially increase money received from the state for schools and other departments.
In an effort to help give residents some perspective, Teague invited South Boston's town manager to give a presentation at Tuesday night's council meeting.
He'll be discussing what South Boston experienced when the town reverted from a city in 1995.
The town's manager was a South Boston city council member when the city reverted.
Teague said he would also like to have a representative from the town of Bedford make a presentation to city council in the near future.
Bedford reverted from a city in 2006.
Teague said the city took a different approach to the process than South Boston did, and he believes that having both perspectives would be helpful.
"We're just in a wait and see mode," said Deputy Henry County Administrator Dale Wagoner about reversion.
Wagoner said Henry County officials have looked at the impact reversion would have on the county.
"It's really no benefit to us to dive any deeper at this point because we already have all the background information we need," Wagoner explained.
If Martinsville reverts, council members and county supervisors would then begin to create a proposed plan for merging the two governments.
That process would likely take a couple of years.
Once the plan is complete, Martinsville city council would either vote to approve or not approve it.
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