Council receives update on city’s finances

Charlottesville City Council received several reports yesterday afternoon, beginning with an update on the city’s financial forecast. Senior Budget Analyst Ryan Davidson said nothing much has changed since the last one in January. (forecast)

“We’re still looking at projecting our revenues to come in approximately $9.9 million lower than the FY21 adopted budget amount,” Davidson said. 

For a sense of scale, that’s about five percent lower than expected. That’s largely due to a dramatic reduction in meals tax and transient lodging tax. 

A possible solution to close the gap is to use the $6.7 million reserve Council agreed to set aside in the FY21 budget. In a normal year, that money would have gone to pay for certain items in the capital improvement program. 

“It’s going to be and going to require an ongoing effort by everyone involved to manage the shortfall and we just need to continue to keep these figures in front of us as we’re continuing to make the decisions as we go through the fiscal year.” 

Budgets in future fiscal years are influenced by decisions made now, such as capital projects. I’ll have more on that in a moment, but for now, there was also a bit of news about filling a vacancy on the Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board. Here’s Councilor Michael Payne. 

“Unfortunately we have not been able to schedule interviews by tonight’s meeting but the Council has decided we will schedule those interviews for this week and hold a special meeting this week in order to make that final appointment,” Payne said. 

There was also a long conversation about the credit card policy which I’ve clipped out for a future story that I hope to be able to get to later this week. There’s a chance I may just knit long soundbites into a podcast so people can hear the discussion in Councilor’s own words. This is issue is perhaps not as simple as you think, as at the heart of this conversation is one about community engagement. More on that later.

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