City, County Staff Present Budget Proposals

Charlottesville and Albemarle County have both assembled proposed budgets for review by their respective elected officials, and both are premised on unchanged tax rates. Charlottesville property assessments went up 14% and Albemarle assessments went 15%, so unchanged tax rates would mean commensurate increases in revenue. The proposed city budget contains a 13.64% spending increase ($136.5M total) and the proposed county budget proposes a 5.6% increase.

City Manager Gary O’Connell proposes using the increased revenue to fund more affordable housing, new emergency services capacity, improving city signage and bringing schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other things.

County Executive Robert Tucker proposes a 5.7% increase in school funding, a 25% increase for fire and rescue, and a 6.9% increase for police, plus increased revenue sharing funding, money for RSWA environmental compliance, and several other things.

The proposed Charlottesville budget and the proposed Albemarle budget are both available online. Now it’s up to the Board of Supervisors and City Council to decide if they want to follow through with the recommendations of their respective staffs.

5 thoughts on “City, County Staff Present Budget Proposals”

  1. I’ve already gotten a tax revolt notice forwarded to me that originated with the C’ville Republicans. I can’t copy it here because it came to me pdf. It is a pretty outrageous increase.

  2. Using the surplus created by out-of-control real estate assessments to fund affordable housing initiatives? Oh, the irony!!

    I have faith, though, that Council will come up with a tax decrease of at least 3 cents in order to help offset this. A tax revolt won’t be necessary, provided that enough people turn out at the next month’s worth of work sessions and public hearings to let Council know that is what we want.

  3. What’s most disturbing to me — particularly in the face of the increased tax assessments — is the almost $1million line item for the city fire department to add 2 ambulances and 8 paramedics, as well as 2 administrative staff. What is the need for this? We have an all-volunteer rescue squad that takes ZERO money from the city. It runs maybe 4500 or so calls in the city in any given year. This budget item suggests that the 2 new ambulances will run about 1500 of those calls, and that it will ultimately recoup about $400,000 annually in billing for transports. How will this work? My understanding is that the city has yet to answer the question: “Will City fire be part of the long-existing and successful EMS SYSTEM?” So, CARS (Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad – the free one) will run calls in the city and not bill but City fire will bill? Will a caller be able to tell the dispatcher to send only the free EMS agency, not the one they have to pay for? Will City fire respond to the county when a mutual aid is necessary? Or down to Scottsville? Will City fire be dispatched to the county when it is the closest ambulance, such as out Fifth St extended, since Ridge St is closer than McIntire (where CARS is located). What is really going on here? Is Julian Taliaferro empire building for his old department?

    The budget (page 79) says that this is meant to “supplement the already high level of services provided by CARS.” What’s the identified need? What’s CARS not doing that the city thinks they should be doing? Daytime staffing is always a weakness in a volunteer organization, like CARS. If that’s the problem, why not put a couple of paid medics down there to supplement an already existing agency that is well-established and part of a SYSTEM for 45 years. If that’s not it, what is it, city councilors? Why buy 2 new ambulances and set up a completely separate system from the one that’s been around for decades. What does the County think of this?

    I, for one, would like to see some answers. No question there’s a lot of waste in government, but this one may just take the cake.

  4. I’m all for funding needed governmental entities. However, I’m not disposed to support raising my property tax until and unless the County first demonstrates that they’ve done what they can to cut unnecessary expenses.

    It seems that they’re always wanting more money for education, which is pretty hard to argue against – though I’m willing to bet the School Board could find a significant amount of existing expenses to eliminate if they were directed to do so (of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t still ask for just as much money in the budget, but it would be a positive sign just the same).

    More dollars for public safety is debatable – I’m not aware of a crime problem that needs more law enforcement $ to quell. I’m also not sure how our fire and rescue services are currently deficient – the County also benefits from CARS, and has a mostly volunteer fire fighting staff.

    I’d like to see the County Supervisors exhibit some genuine cost-consciousness before holding their hands out for more. Unless every Supervisor can stand up and say “I am absolutely certain that there are no savings to be had elsewhere,” then I’m going to oppose raising taxes.

  5. how is the tax revolt going?

    I was thinking of writing the below to our 5 city councilors
    sound too shrill?

    —————-not yet sent————————
    Manager O’Connell’s quote doesn’t make sense:
    “Since the economy is good, do we invest in our schools, affordable housing, emergency services, traffic and our infrastructure, or do we not do that and cut the tax rate?” O’Connell asked.

    for many reasons:
    – taxes choke the economy
    – raising taxes makes housing less affordable
    – why so much for education when school population is shrinking 4%?
    – one of the few communities to take back car tax relief? (along with increased car assessed values)
    – raising the budget to $136M when you only needed $110M this year (before searching for ways to spend the surplus) is like adding $25M of pork in basically one year
    – all this when people’s salaries and inflation are increasing just 2-4%
    – shouldn’t the people get to vote on such onerous tax increases? (and don’t point to your own elections when there’s such a democratic machine in this town)
    – do you know how many opportunists are suggesting programs that will lead to income for themselves?

    can these programs be easily rolled back?

    will you guys listen when people come to next monday’s forum?

Comments are closed.