There are many governmental connections between the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, which are two totally separate entities under Virginia law. One is a revenue-sharing agreement adopted in 1982 that has led to Albemarle contributing a share of its property tax revenue with Charlottesville in order to stave off annexation. There’s also a shared water and sewer authority, a jail authority, and other regional bodies.
Last week, top officials from both communities got together to get to know each other after extensive turnover in city leadership.
“The two deputy city managers with Jeff Richardson, county executive, and his deputies, at a half-day retreat last Friday,” said Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. “We share a lot and we have a lot of common issues and problems that we’re working on.”
According to the written report, Albemarle, Charlottesville, and top University of Virginia officials meet once a quarter and one gathering took place recently.
“In this meeting there was discussion of development plans, organizational challenges, governance issues and areas where coordination would be beneficial,” reads that document.
For 26 years, such meetings were public under the Planning and Coordination Council, but that body voted to cease existing in the fall of 2019. Now there is a closed-door group called the Land Use & Environmental Planning Committee that last met in June, according to their meeting page.
Rogers said Friday’s retreat will lead to further cooperation on issues.
One area where they compete is in staff retention and recruitment. Several senior staff have recently left the city for Albemarle County including the recent departure of a deputy fire chief. One reason is for higher pay. Rogers said the city is trying to make public safety careers more appealing from a financial perspective.
“We work with the police department to fund a new payscale within their budget,” Rogers said. “They had a tremendous amount of savings actually because of the number of vacancies that they had so we were able to accomplish that.”
The city some of its American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide retention bonuses to keep people in the Sheriff’s Department and the Fire Department.
Rogers said increasing pay for transit workers has been more difficult given federal funding mechanisms. He said Council will be offered a solution for pay increases at its next meeting.
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