Geothermal drilling at Buford
The city has issued an invitation for bids for the modernization of Greenbrier Elementary School.
“Project involves renovation of parts of Greenbrier Elementary School, including but not limited to flooring, ceiling replacement, minor HVAC duct work, storefront glass and finish work,” reads the bid description. “Project will require coordination with other work on related and unrelated projects on the school site.”
There is a 456 page manual for the project. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for November 29, 2022. Submissions will be received through December 14, 2022. Work is expected to begin June 12, 2023 with substantial completion on August 11, 2023.
Charlottesville has canceled a request for quotations for a firm to provide reusable bags for eligible community members.
“Specifically, none of the bidders were able to meet the delivery date stated within the solicitation,” reads the memo sent out last week by Procurement and Risk Management Services.
The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission meets tonight ten days after City Council held the first reading of a proposed change to the ordinance that would expand their ability to investigate discrimination claims.
“It will just give us a little more teeth to investigate and make judgments against Fair Housing law violations in the city,” said City Councilor Michael Payne said.
Charlottesville City Council voted 3-1 on May 20, 2013 to create the Human Rights Commission, with Mayor Satyendra Huja abstaining at the time. The Commission was an outcome of a city initiative called the Dialogue on Race. Since then, the Human Rights Office has been through two directors and is currently led by Todd Niemeier.
The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation has awarded nearly $15 million in grants across the Commonwealth to help preserve land from development. That includes $175,000 for Charlottesville to purchase 8.6 acres of land in Albemarle County along Moores Creek. That falls under the “Open Spaces and Parks” category of the program.
The money can be used to purchase property, acquire conservation easements, or some other method of preserving land. In this case, Charlottesville will use the funding to buy land currently used by the International Rescue Committee for an urban farming project. That use would continue.
“This property is a priority for developing the Moores Creek Greenway as it allows a shared use path and the [Rivanna Trail] to stay on the same side of Moores Creek as the trail upstream and means we don’t absolutely have to build a bridge, which could cost as much or more than the land itself,” said parks planner Chris Gensic in response to a question.
There were two oversights in this week’s Week Ahead newsletter.
First, the Charlottesville School Board will meet at 5 p.m. in the Booker T. Reaves Media Center at Charlottesville High School at 1400 Melbourne Road. You can register to participate via Zoom or watch along on Facebook.
Items on the agenda include an allocation from the state for a one-time bonus that comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Charlottesville gets $414,603.21 for the effort, and is kicking in funding of its own.
“Charlottesville City Schools has 793.32 [full-time equivalent] instructional and support positions including custodial and nutrition workers,” reads the agenda item. “The total cost of the one-time bonus payment is $854,009.”
Charlottesville City Council adopted an affordable housing plan in March 2021 that calls for $10 million a year in investment in programs and initiatives to expand the amount of units that are guaranteed to be rented or sold to people with incomes below sixty percent of the area median income.
On Tuesday, the city announced it is seeking proposals from groups for city funding to help subsidize the cost of major projects.
“This application process is open to those multi-family affordable housing development projects, proposed to be located within City limits, that may be requesting significant investment consideration for which developers may be desiring to ask the City to assist with gap funding,” reads the press release for the announcement.
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.
The Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage has asked the city to help it cover the cost of the rent it pays to the Jefferson School Foundation. That’s the entity that owns the former elementary school. The Center leases just over 11,000 square feet at a cost of $15,134.76 per month.
Staff has recommended Council donate seven months of rent to cover the Center from December 1 through the end of next June for a total of $107,203.32.
“The reason for taking this action at this moment is to provide Council the space that it needs to conduct its strategic planning sessions to determine how it will engage in investments for moments like this to invest in arrangements with non-profit organizations,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders.