Council will also be presented with a $190.7 million operating and capital budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. During a press briefing today, City Manager Chip Boyles said preparing a budget during a time of economic uncertainty has been a challenge for staff.
“Known decreased revenues in the current year and unknown revenue and expense projections for fiscal year 2022 make this a difficult task at best,” Boyles said. “Staff has taken a very conservative approach to go into FY22 and is hoping for the best.”
Meals tax and lodging tax revenues have been down sharply since the pandemic with restrictions in place on gathering spaces. Staff expect the trend to continue into the fiscal year. Ryan Davidson is a senior budget management analyst with Charlottesville.
“For lodging and meals, neither of those do we see getting back to 100 percent of pre-COVID collection rates before the end of the next fiscal year,” Davidson said. “Hopefully we’ll be wrong and things will rebound.”
One change made during the development of the capital budget is that there is only one million in funding in the next fiscal year for the proposed 7th Street Parking garage, with $7 million expected to be spent in fiscal year 23.
Krissy Hammill is the other senior budget management analyst. She said the city can still meet its obligations to provide parking for Albemarle County per a 2018 agreement to build a joint General District Court downtown.
“The dollar amount that’s put in here now gives us enough time and gives staff the flexibility to continue doing that research with some funding available,” Hammill said.
The recommended budget also includes no additional city taxpayer funds for the West Main Streetscape and Council is expected to further discuss its future in the coming budget work sessions.
“As part of the staff recommendation, just from an affordability standpoint, we’ve taken out any additional funding for West Main and added the [$50 million] school reconfiguration project,” Hammill said. “Absent some real solid direction from Council, we have not made any changes in the CIP and have not changed our position there in the hope that once we get to these work sessions as part of the budget there will be some decisions made.”
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