City Adopts Budget with a Flat Tax Rate

Charlottesville has adopted a $140M budget, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow, keeping the real estate property tax at $0.95, as it was last year. The budget (99k PDF) includes some last-minute additions of funding for things like JABA, Streamwatch, and Children, Youth & Family Services.

For a sense of perspective, note that we had a $100M budget in 2005, a $94M budget in 2004, and a ~$80M budget in 2003.

16 thoughts on “City Adopts Budget with a Flat Tax Rate”

  1. Whoop…de….doo…..Did anyone expect the rascals to do anything other than adopt a fully funded budget. It’s always easy to spend other people’s money. As for the fully funded school budget, which included membership for all teachers and staff in a local athletic club, I don’t want to see any FAT school employees.

  2. I’d heard some commentary in the last few months that the city council had realized previous councils had kept their budgets down by not doing routine maintenance on city infrastructure. Based on that, I’d assume this higher budget is going to make up for that. If we KEEP the budget this high for the next 5 years, then I’ll look for overspending.


  3. What’s going to happen with Meadowcreek Pkwy.? The WP has an article today saying that VDOT has proposed cutting 44% off its construction budget, and for the next six years most dollars will go to maintenance only. Sure, they’re crying for attention, but that’s a big cut.

    I know that VDOT is responsible for county roads, not city, but I don’t know how that plays into new construction & Meadowcreek Pkwy.

  4. Rebuilding the Belmont Bridge is very expensive for the city. Now would be a great time for my Second City project. Like Chicago, we should start building a second level of Charlottesville.

    Think of it this way. You are a pedestrian who wants to get from Water Street over to Belmont. While not illegally crossing the CSX tracks, you think, why are those stairs so high and backwards from the direction I want to go? Why is the bridge not surrounded by earthworks that slope up to it? Why in fact is the area between the Mall and the top of the bridge still an old gully called Water Street? Why not build earthworks and platforms all the way across to Monticello Road?

    Downtown Chicago is built like this, one two levels. For us, it can start in that one corner of downtown.

  5. The other MCPway wrinkle could come tonight if the city’s school board refuses to give away the land (now being used for a softball field).

    What then?

  6. Isn’t this normal? I mean, my 2008 income is 40% higher than my 2005 income. Just cost of living, right? Social security and minimum wage has risen by at least that much…..

  7. Elizabeth when you feed out of the public trough a 40% increase could be normal, but for the average person this is not reality.

  8. Jogger – you don’t do nuance, do you? Elizabeth didn’t put tags around her comment, but the sarcasm is dripping. What is it about knuckle-dragging right-wingers that prevents them from having a sense of humor? Or is the the lack of humor that leads to being a right-winger?

    On a broader note…I’m not terribly surprised council did this either. We do need a balanced budget. My city property assessments went up again – another 6% – despite the clear evidence that the national bubble is bursting, and prices in c’ville have also fallen. Old Roosevelt Barbour is gonna be facing pitch forks if he tries to pull that stunt again.

    I want to start seeing some of the “Neighborhood Development” staff being handed pink slips. We have an extremely bloated and pointless city staff. Gary O’Connell needs to learn how to get along without so many people around to make coffee.

  9. Don’t forget the people who build new dams rather than dredge: I’d really like to see Gary do without those. And thank you, Scott, for defending my sarcasm.

  10. If you’re looking to make cuts to bloated entities, I suggest looking no further than the large and always getting larger central office staff of our schools. Even central office doesn’t know how many people they’ve stuffed into central office. If you don’t believe me, call and ask them.

  11. People make some good points about the budget. The school administrative staff has been bloated for years,since the 70s.
    And there are all the projects like the transit center, the new ambulance service,perhaps a subsidy to the YMCA. Yeah, I know the center was from a federal grant for its construction-but how about the ongoing maintenance of this totally useless structure?
    Its amusing,if maddening to hear councillors yammer on about so-called “affordable housing”,when assessments keep rising and middle class homeowners have to struggle to pay their increasing tax bills
    The city takes on responsibilities it should not. For instance, the city should not be a landlord. I doubt if it makes money there. Get rid of public housing,sell it to the private sector who would then be paying real estate taxes on it.
    The city needs to prioritize better. Why were the pools allowed to deteriorate like they did? While money is spent on a lot of totally unnecessary mowing in areas that could be left undisturbed. wasteful of money and environmentally detrimental. Just one example of mismanagement.

  12. The city asked for an accounting of Central Office staff over a year ago. It finally arrived last month. Central Office counts 59 people on their staff; but in their budget, the number exceeds 100. School Board and City Council know this is a big issue (enrollment declining, but many more people working in Central Office than there were when enrollment was 2000 kids greater. The budget and staffing for the Finance dept is roughly the same as the budget for the Alternative program!

    If I heard from teachers that all these coordinators (over 20) are really making a difference in the classrooms, I would stay mum. (I’m a city school parent; I like to see $$ spent on schools, right?) But that’s not what I hear. Not at all. I hear that Central Office management is getting in the way of teaching.

    As this is problem still headed in the wrong direction (more Central Office position added in this year’s budget), I now think that the only solution is for the School Board (and if not the SB, then the City Council) to ask for mandatory cuts to Central Office budget– say 25% phased in over three years (to start). This would prompt the discussions that the SB, dominated by Central Office, won’t currently have: how many support positions do we really need to have? should Central Office be nixed once and for all as a retirement zone? how many assitant, deputy or associate superintendents for a division our size; how many coorinators? what else can we double-up with with the county (besides CATEC)? Why bother with staffing formulas in our classrooms if Central Office doesn’t have a staffing formula and has thus become the walnut shell under which all of the off-the-books jobs can be conveniently concealed?

  13. On the matter of CCS-CO job cuts: yes, LONG, LONG, LONG overdue. The city schools have a ridiculous non-classroom personal service budget. It’s not just at central office – it’s in the schools too. It has been SOP for YEARS to simply ‘promote incompetency’ (Peter Principle) out of the classroom to (quasi-)administration, and then from school administration central office administration. The ‘master teachers’ do exist, and the ones I’ve known all find the “Curriculum Coordinators” even more laughable than the run-of-the-mill teachers.

    Those positions – the coordinators in particular – exist to provide their assistant/associate superintendents with someone to supervise, a self-justification that seems to make it’s way down the pay grades. This has not changed (the names, faces and allegiances perhaps, but not the system) for more than the preceding five administrations. It most certainly is the School Board’s job to enforce cuts to the CO budget – but they are, of course, a ‘captured’ agency.

    All that said, I don’t believe the school system contains the lowest hanging fruit at this point. The need for testing coordinators, for example, is quite real (please don’t confuse this for support for Harley Miles).

    On the city’s webpage, I count no less than 5 positions related to “planning”. Between these five positions and the never-ending studies the city commissions from consultants, as well as the two nominal ‘traffic engineers’, we should be living in a model of planned urban bliss – Reston, VA for example. Instead we get ‘traffic calming’ (intentionally increased congestion) and decorative plantings. These people may be quite capable and bright individuals – highly talented even – but nothing about C’ville’s development shows particular evidence of planning – it all looks like organic development, and even the infill follows the form laid out by previous developers. Perhaps these folks draw up wonderful plans – none of them ever gets implemented. Enough already – get rid of the ‘planning’.

  14. And don’t forget all the money the city spends on consultants, for everything under the sun.

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