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Marshall Orenic for Harrisonburg City Council

I grew up here in the valley. After I obtained my degree in business administration, I married my high school sweetheart, Candace, and moved out to Colorado, where I spent ten years. After starting a family, we moved back to Harrisonburg Virginia to settle down with our two daughters and son who now attend Harrisonburg City Schools.
I have been in the restaurant management business most of my life, but now work as a market sales associate in the insurance industry.
I enjoy hiking, listening to music and watching & playing sports, especially soccer!
I have volunteered at Shenandoah Valley United Soccer Club, AVA Care, and have been involved in various ministries in the churches me and my family have attended.

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My Core Beliefs:
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Transparency

“We should never forget the constitution wasn’t written to restrain citizens’ behavior…it was written to restrain the government’s behavior.” –Sen. Rand Paul

My Six Top Priorities of the City of Harrisonburg

A front view of an Acadian renovated home with columns, sidewalks and a colorful front door recently purchased with the changing real estate market.

Addressing the Housing Crisis

Inflation is hurting all of us, homeowners and renters alike. City Council is raising real estate taxes by 3%, water rates by 5%, and sewer rates by 2%. In addition, rising property values are automatically increasing the cost of owning a home in the city. Renters will see their rents increase proportionately to cover these rising costs to the landlords. So, everyone will be paying even more to live in the city after the mayor declared it was already too expensive.
We need to lower the real estate tax to offset the rising home values.

Portrait of young African-American woman sharing struggles during support group meeting with people siting in circle and comforting her

Increasing Mental Health Care Awareness

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Retention of Harrisonburg Police Officers

Turnover at the higher levels of various city departments has occurred at an unprecedented rate over the past 5 years.We’ve lost 2 city managers and 2 police chiefs, for example. Rather than fill most of these key positions with current experienced talent, Council continues to outsource the personnel searches at a cost of $75,000 to the taxpayers.
Happy African American student raising her hand to ask a question during lecture in the classroom.

Planning for Future Population Growth

HHS opened at near capacity in 2005 with about 1250 students*. Just a few years later it was consistently over capacity, yet it took until 2017 for the city to react to the overcrowding. We need to plan now to prevent repeating this. (Data Source: national Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Dept of Education)

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Managing Fiscal Responsibility

Taxpayers are currently funding the construction of the second most expensive high school in the entire state. SOL scores have been decreasing over the past 5 years while the School Board’s budget has increased 27%

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Equal Representation on City Council for the City

Currently elected at-large, regardless of where they reside. 

What Has the City Council and School Board Done For You Lately?

Old City Hall
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Real Estate Taxes Have Gone Up Over 50% In The Last 10 Years*

  • *Data Source: https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/sites/default/files/Revenue/Tax%20Rate%20for%20Real%20Estate.pdf
  • No reduction in spending or cost-effective studies on projects.
  • Additional personnel positions have been added with responsibilities already performed by existing staff.
  • Affordable housing is rapidly becoming unaffordable.
  • Impact on senior citizens is not being considered while they require the fewest number of services and promptly pay their taxes
  • Effects on immigrants aren’t being considered as rents increase steadily.
  • The city cannot afford continued expansion of the school board budget except for preparing for continued growth or faculty. The last Harrisonburg High School opened AT CAPACITY in 2005.

Reduction of Zoning Restrictions Endager Home Values and the Integrity of Neighborhoods

  • Air BnB rezoning destroys appeal of neighborhoods to families (?)
  • Zoning actions are makign homes “affordable” by lowering their value.
  • Assure protection of neighborhoods from high density housing.
  • The concept of neighborhood schools is being greatly diminished.
  • Rezone some areas to make room for single family homes – we are in the middle of a huge housing crisis. The ALICE Report outlines the challenges of individuals and families who earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living. Too many of our neighbors often struggle to afford basic necessities including housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.
Aerial view of residential area in typical American suburb home community
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Actions to Consider

1. Ensure that all areas of our city are equally represented on both City Council and School Board.  With 8 voting precincts identified in the city, our governing bodies should reflect every area’s concerns.  This can only be accomplished by increasing to 8 the members of Council and the Board, one candidate per precinct. The current at-large method of electing officials does not serve all the voters of Harrisonburg. The city has grown and needs to reflect all its neighborhoods and residents, not just the special interest groups.
2. A panel to City Council should be assembled to advise and recommend actions on capital construction costs.  This panel should be drawn from all sections of the city to assure equity and economy of the projects.
3. Adopt a ceiling on project expenses that is directly tied to the economic impact on all taxpayers, especially the middle class and those on a fixed income.
4. Stop changing zoning ordinances to profit the few at the expense of homeowners. Neighborhoods are the backbone and character of the city.

My Endorsements

5/5
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Martin Foster
5/5
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Bryan Cirius
5/5
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Jane Dowser

Questions or Concerns? Drop Me A Line!

Marshall Orenic for City Council

1866 E. Market St.

Suite C, Box #300

Harrisonburg, VA 22802

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