Council held a public hearing on the budget for FY22 which so far does not include any funding from the American Recovery Plan because staff wants to have a full sense of restrictions that may come with the money. However, Boyles said one of the first uses will be to fill the revenue shortfalls from FY21. Staff have been working to close a multimillion dollar budget gap.
“While revenue projections are improving for FY21, we still estimate a $9.2 revenue loss for fiscal year 21,” Boyles said.
Final budget adoption is scheduled for April 13. After that, Boyles is hoping to relaunch the city’s strategic planning process in order to inform future budgets. The current strategic plan was adopted in June 2017 and no one is left on Council from that time.
“My vision is that as soon as we get through with this budget process, then we begin a strategic planning process that will start to lead us toward the FY23 budget,” Boyles said.
A strategic plan is not to be confused with the Comprehensive Plan, which is a document intended to direct the development of land and public infrastructure. The strategic plan is intended to create policy objectives which then direct the work of the city’s employees as well as what the city chooses to fund.
Mayor Nikuyah Walker said one of her main objectives is to ensure city funding for non-profits is tied to performance.
“One of the major points that came out of the task force or working group meeting I convened or whatever we called it was to figure out how to get citizens input directly and not just have nonprofits be able to say that X people of number participated and thereby just by participating they get the dollars that there are allocated,” Walker said.
For many years, Albemarle and Charlottesville participated in something called the Agency Budget Review Team in which a sixteen member team evaluated requests jointly.
However, Council opted to go its own way beginning with the development of the FY21 budget in favor of something the Vibrant Community Fund. In her comments above, Walker was referring to the Measurement and Solutions Group which had been intended to meet to “identify appropriate measurements, benchmarks, solutions and metrics for the designated priority areas for use in The Vibrant Community Funding process.” Those priority areas are “Jobs/Wages, Affordable Housing, Public Health Care, and Education.”
However, that process has been delayed by the pandemic. Boyles said the process would be improved for the next fiscal year.
“For FY23 we want to come up with a means to be able to identify some of our nonprofit and community stakeholders and partners that will become more of a line item within the budget so that even though it is an annual basis, it be a little bit more definitive for them to know they’re going to get a funding of a certain amount every year,” Boyles said.
A work session on the process going into the next fiscal year will be held in May.
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