City Has $10M Surplus

The city wrapped up the fiscal year with a $9.9M surplus, John Yellig reported in yesterday’s Daily Progress. Forty percent of that came from cost savings and 60% came from extra revenues. Much of those extra revenues came from sales, meals, and lodging taxes (thanks in part to tourism), with only 8.6% of the surplus having come from the much-reviled real estate taxes. It’s Council’s practice to put the bulk of surpluses in the capital improvement fund, and the timing couldn’t be better, what with the recent news of the city’s aging infrastructure.

Council discussed this at last night’s meeting, Yellig reports today, and resolved to simply try harder in forecasting revenue and expenses. Albemarle County experienced a similar revenue surplus, indicating that this may not have been easily forecast. What Albemarle didn’t do, however, was cut spending like C’ville did.

6 thoughts on “City Has $10M Surplus”

  1. I can’t imagine Fluvanna County is too happy about this.

    From what I understand, and granted I’m fairly new here, is that the bordering counties are having to deal with the influx of population, and then all those residents go to jobs in the city/Albemarle County, spend money there, and Fluvanna County sees none of the taxes.

    So, faced with this dilemma, what does Fluvanna County decide to do about it? Apparently approve a TON of developments projects for half-millon dollar houses, still knowing that with each resident that moves in and pays property tax, the county actually LOSES money. That’s a great idea. >:\

    Meanwhile, I’m still driving 15 minutes to a horrible Food Lion grocery store, and 30 minutes into the city if I want to go to Giant, which is marginally passable. And soon I’ll be stuck in traffic on all these two lane roads with everyone else going into Albemarle County, because given how shortsighted the county is, and with the recent VDOT articles, no chance those roads are getting expanded when all these residents come pouring in.

    I’m beginning to suspect why sometimes people give me a frosty look when I tell them I moved down here from Fairfax.

  2. What Albemarle didn’t do, however, was cut spending like C’ville did.

    And Charlottesville isn’t going to spend the 9.9 million? It’s not like it is free money, and I would discourage anyone who might be inclined to think of it that way.

    I’m assuming by putting a portion of the surplus into the capitol improvement fund that it will get spent on those “need” items that government would want to fund even if there were a budget shortfall – (like the city’s aging infrastructure) as opposed to getting spent “on new maintenance-requiring capital improvements (expanding the Downtown Mall down side streets, revamping West Main)” which wouldn’t be a great use of the money.?

    From The DP article:

    Referencing a recent report that the council could face a deficit as it draws up the fiscal 2008 budget this winter, Charles “Buddy” Weber said the council follows a familiar pattern of warning of deficits and winding up with surpluses.

    “Every year they cry the blues about shortfalls, then every year they raise the taxes to meet those shortfalls,” said Weber, founder of the Charlottesville Taxpayers Association. “Then every year they have surpluses. It’s time for them to do their job and cut our taxes.”

    I think Mr. Weber makes a fair point. With a surplus – it’s kinda like the little boy who cried wolf.

  3. But they don’t “cry the blues about shortfalls.” I have no recollection of any such thing. In fact, they’ve cut the tax rate in each of the past two years, due to rising real estate taxes, which doesn’t sound like crying wolf.

    Properly handled, though, there should be roughly equal concern about shortfalls and surpluses, although the problems resulting from a shortfall are generally greater than the problems that result from a surplus, meaning that leaning towards the latter is probably preferable.

  4. They didn’t cut the tax rate because of rising real estate taxes. While the rising real estate tax bills may have made it politically necessary to pretend to do something, the truth is that cutting the real estate tax rate was a political gesture and a pretty measly one at that as proven by the 10 million dollar surplus. The rate reduction did not even come close to offsetting the increase in our bills due to higher assessments. Our taxes still went up.

  5. If the county has a similar surplus I would like to see them invest it in education. Our schools are good around here but not has good as they could be especially in the Southern part of the county. This is especially true when you consider the wealth in the area. I think schools like Walton and possibly even Henly would benefit greatly from an activity that takes kids home after after-school activities.

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