Study: Budget Growth Exceeds Population Growth

A study of per capital spending in localities’ annual operating budgets has shown that, since 1988, Charlottesville’s budget has increased by 3.23% while the population has decreased by 1.74%. While some will interpret this as an indicator that the city is overspending, the city points out several factors that are not considered in the study, such as the skyrocketing cost of natural gas (since the city provides that utility), the failure of the state to cover their share of the cost of the jail and schools, the high rate of poverty among Charlottesville citizens, and the city/county separation that has Charlottesville bear the fiscal burden of providing many services to county residents. Still, the report could launch a discussion well worth having, regarding the size of city government. Julie Stavitski and John Yellig have the story in today’s Progress.

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