City Avoids Major Cuts, But the Worst is to Come

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.

10 thoughts on “City Avoids Major Cuts, But the Worst is to Come”

  1. 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.

    Really??! Two years ago they were putting the re-bricking out to contract.
    One year ago they were considering offering an exorbitant amount of money for a clock contest that wasn’t even guaranteed to be built.
    One month ago they were planning to spend $90,000 to rebrand buses regardless of whether a regional transit authority was created (it wasn’t)
    So you’ll forgive me if I fail to see much evidence of fiscal restraint. Two years from now the city will wish it had every penny of that money back, and more.

  2. I don’t care how deeply services to the community are cut. The schools, law enforcement, and fire department can do without as long as we don’t have to lay anybody off like other localities nationwide have done.

    The nerve of localities nationwide cutting staff, salaries and benefits packages! That just ain’t American!

    (Paint a frame of sarcasm around my comments above)

  3. Lets not forget the millions Gary O (via RWSA) voted to flush down the toilet on Gannet Fleming’s dam design at Ragged Mt. How is it that he bought into their irrationally exuberant population estimates and demand predictions when he saw this economic downturn coming three years in advance? Or the fact that he sat on the board of the RSWA for years while they failed to properly charge users of their transfer station, then spent hundreds of thousands on lawyers to cover their own butts…

  4. Mayor Norris is trying to talk about half an equation. The tax rate is only important when using it to figure out your tax burden by multiplying it by the price of a house. It is of little true meaning to boast about just a rate.

    Houses cost more in Charlottesville. I wish all politicians should talk about the median property tax bill. Anything else is an attempt to draw a false conclusion for a political purpose. I don’t like it when Dennis Rooker does the same thing with the rate.

    Next year Albemarle sends less money to Charlottesville from revenue sharing and that’s before they re introduce the tax admendment from Rep. Bell. That would be over $2 million more. Charlottesville better start trying to save money or a tax increase will be their only choice. They got a year to reduce spending or the taxpayers pockets will be the only place to go.

  5. Tax rates too high in the city, tax rates too low in the county. Overly frugal county gives revenue sharing money to free spending city creating enduring values clash. In good times-no big deal. In bad times- completely predictable tension. Both sides spin, spin, spin….

  6. They’re wrongfully trying to pat themselves on the back and spin it like they’ve done something right.

    How many of the past several years have they had budget overages? Overages on top of all the extra projects they’ve pursued. They could probably go without making any cuts. But it’s politically expected since Albemarle County is having their financial crisis and the City just dodged a bullet with the Rob Bell – School funding Bill.

    It’s a fig leaf, because it’s what everyone expects.

  7. This city will never avoid excessive spending. This is just another scare tactic on the part of the city administration to get people all worked up. As long as the liberal democrats are in control excessive spending will be the norm not the exception. the city needs someone with a backbone who is not afraid to cut into the scared cows (programs) which continue to use and waste taxpayer monies.

  8. I dislike a job loss for anyone but is there a law which states “An employee may be discharged in consideration of fiscal prudence ; but not if said employeee is employed by the government?”

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