In the early part of the City Council meeting, Fire Chief Hezedean Smith has a long conversation with the five-elected officials. Smith has been in the position since December 2020 and he wanted to reflect on the time so far.
“There’s been a lot of tragedy within our community and fortunately our firefighters, they remain committed in terms of serving the community to their fullest, in spite of COVID and in spite of all the other challenges that they face,” Smith said.
So far this year, Council has had two discussions of the budget for the next fiscal year but they gave their first significant direction Monday night. At their work session last Thursday, Council were told they needed to decide whether they wanted to advertise an increase in the tax rate above 95 cents per $100 of assessed value. For all of that discussion, go back to the February 6 installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement.
Senior Budget Analyst Krisy Hammill said that a five-cent increase in the tax rate would not be enough to cover the additional debt service for a capital improvement plan that includes $75 million for renovations to Buford Middle School. Council also wants to honor the goal of putting $10 million toward affordable housing initiative for at least ten years.
“In actuality, the five-cent tax increase does not afford the $75 million addition,” Hammill said.