Budget season is really a year-round event in Charlottesville, as my reporting can attest. But on Monday, Council was formally introduced to the spending plans for both Charlottesville local government and Charlottesville City Schools. The school system went first.
“Our proposed budget for FY24 is $107,128,647 and that is a budget change of $212,416,” said Superintendent Royal Gurley.
School Board Chair James Bryant thanked Council for their collaboration this year on addressing the school bus driver shortage and the recent purchase of Albemarle County’s share of the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center.
“Working together, we can meet both the needs of high schoolers and adult learners,” Bryant said. “We can also work to address the city’s workforce development goals to meet the needs of our area employers.”
Charlottesville City Council has voted to approve changes to the boundaries for voting precincts in the city, which includes two new precincts and the elimination of two others.
Under the new map, Alumni Hall and Tonsler Park would no longer be places to vote. Charlottesville High School and Jackson-Via Elementary School would be added.
“Both of these precincting places are wonderful,” said Anne Hemmenway, a former member of the Charlottesville Electoral Board who chaired the reprecincting committee. “Jackson-Via is very accessible to a large neighborhood around it. The voting area is large. The parking area is plentiful and they have a wonderful circle area for our people that vote curbside.”
Like most localities in Virginia, Charlottesville is seeking ways to retain its employees by increasing salaries. For instance, fellow Senate District 11 jurisdiction Amherst County is anticipating a seven percent cost of living adjustment.
Charlottesville had expected a study by the firm Gallagher on compensation to be completed by the end of 2022 but that was delayed to mid February. Now there’s a further delay.
“The compensation study is a complex piece of work that involves 237 job classifications that are being studied and 26 comparative communities that we are soliciting needed salary and benefit information from,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers.
New City Councilor Leah Puryear attended her first meeting on February 28 when Council got together with the Planning Commission to review the draft of the first module of the new zoning code. My goal is to get a story out on that by March 13. At her first regular meeting, Puryear was assigned various committees.
“We’re going to appoint her to replace Councilor Magill on the legislative committee,” said Mayor Lloyd Snook. “Also on the Community Criminal Justice Board and one of the Virginia First Cities representatives.”
There has been a wave of shootings and homicides in the community in the past six months. At the beginning of the meeting, interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers addressed the issue.
“Chief [Michael] Kochis and the men and women of the Charlottesville Police Department are working tirelessly to address the recent spike in gun violence and to bring justice to those who have been affected,” Rogers said.