Monthly Archives: April 2021

Charlottesville budget staff continues to warn Council of approaching debt limit

Charlottesville City Council will have a public hearing on the proposed fiscal year on Monday, April 5. On March 25 they held a work session on the proposed capital improvement program as well as what to do with some additional revenue that budget staff now anticipates receiving during the year that begins on July 1. 

For months, budget staff have been telling Council that the city is close to its capacity to raise additional debt. (link to presentation) (watch on city website)

“With the proposed CIP we are projecting a five year debt financing of roughly $121 million,” said senior budget management analyst Krissy Hammill. “WIth the bonds that we’ve previously committed but not issued, and the CIP before you, we are committing to a debt capacity of about $195 million.” 

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Regional Transit Partnership briefed on regional transit vision, looming Charlottesville Area Transit route changes

Since October 2017, the Regional Transit Partnership has met as a program of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC). The group consists of Charlottesville and Albemarle officials, and the University of Virginia joined the partnership by the end of 2019. The idea is to share information with an eye to having the city-owned Charlottesville Area Transit, the public service corporation Jaunt, and the University Transit System work better together. 

Last week, regional leaders got an update on the creation of a regional transit vision that the TJPDC is working on that will serve as a blueprint for a more efficient system. The next milestone is for a committee to select a firm to work on the project. Jessica Hersh-Ballering is a transportation planner with the TJPDC who spoke at March 25 RTP meeting. 

“The regional transit vision plan requires technical assistance from a consulting team and the role of the selection committee is to review proposals from those firms to the vision plan [request for proposals] and then to recommend to the Regional Transit Partnership a preferred firm to complete the vision plan,” said Hersh-Ballering. 

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Ceremony held to launch Virginia’s $3.7 billion passenger rail investment

On Tuesday, a ceremony was held at the Alexandria train station that is the culmination of an announcement in December 2019 from Governor Ralph Northam about a $3.7 billion investment in Virginia rail. 

That includes:

  • A $1.9 billion bridge over the Potomac River dedicated to passenger rail
  • Public purchase of 223 miles of track and 386 miles of right of way from CSX
  • $1 billion in related infrastructure improvements in Virginia
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Virginia Supreme Court clears way for Confederate Statue removal

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Charlottesville can remove two Confederate statues in city parks that were erected in the early 1920’s. In February  2017, Council voted to remove statues of two Confederate generals and were soon sued by a group who argued the statues were protected war memorials under a law that passed the General Assembly in 1997. A Charlottesville Circuit Court judge backed them up the plaintiffs in an October 2019 ruling.  

“It has long been the law of the Commonwealth that retroactive application of statutes disfavored,” reads the opinion.

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