In their final action at their meeting on October 17, 2022, Charlottesville City Council held first reading on an item to spend $20,000 to purchase reusable bags for those on federal or state benefits. The 2020 General Assembly authorized localities in Virginia to authorize a 5 cent tax on plastic bags.
“We along with Albemarle County will be launching that January 1,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “We continue to work closely with the county to make sure that our efforts are in alignment with theirs because our residents move back and forth between the city and the county, we want to ensure that there’s no real concern in regards to understanding what’s different whatever we may be doing so our goal is to try to do it in conjunction with another.”
First, Council was asked to appropriate $565,000 from the city’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). That’s part of a larger pot that Councilor Michael Payne alluded to earlier.
“There’s currently about $2.3 million of unallocated ARP money,” said Chris Cullinan, the city’s finance director.
There are 168 days until Charlottesville City Council will vote on a budget for fiscal year 2024, which begins on July 1, 2023 Between now and then a lot of things will happen, including discussions of a capital improvement program, final direction on the expansions and renovations at Buford Middle School, and a fresh round of real property assessments for over 15,000 parcels in Charlottesville.
Soon after Council adopted the FY23 budget and the first real property tax rate increase in at least 30 years, the five members expressed a desire to get involved with the process earlier in the year. That’s why a budget work session was held on October 17. (work session materials)
“We paid attention to that in the schedule this year and this is the first effort for us to lay out for you what the budget process will be and to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities that we will have in FY24,” said Michael C. Rogers, the interim city manager.
It has been nearly 12 years since the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased nearly 800 acres in Albemarle County’s growth area for the purposes of creating a state park. The land had been slated for the Biscuit Run mixed-use development, but the previous developer found a buyer in then-Governor Tim Kaine.
It has been nearly five years since the Commonwealth of Virginia entered into a ground lease with Albemarle for the county to program the 1,200 acre park, an agreement signed by then Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2018.
McAuliffe had requested a $42 million bond package during the 2016 General Assembly but that did not make it through to passage. That would have paid for at least some of a master plan to program the park.