In the Daily Progress, Rachana Dixit has written a two-part series [1, 2] about Charlottesville’s proposed budget. While basically every municipality is cutting services pretty deeply, Charlottesville is cutting a bit more than 1% from spending while avoiding eliminating any services or laying anybody off. Outgoing City Manager Gary O’Connell says that the reason for this is simple: the city started preparing for the effects of an economic downturn three years ago. Mayor Dave Norris points out that the city has one of the lowest tax rates of any city in Virginia, at $0.95 per $100 of assessed value. But, city officials warn, things start to get bad with the 2012 budget. With the state continuing its decade-long trend of reducing local funding, and federal economic stimulus funds due to expire in a year and a half, the current arrangement may just be masking the underlying financial trouble.