Category Archives: Budget – Charlottesville

Rogers and city staff go over budget process at public forum

We’re about a month away before interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers will release his recommended budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Last night, Rogers appeared at a forum to discuss the preparation for the document and the decisions that will soon need to be made.

“Our code requires the City Manager to submit the budget to City Council on March 6 and when the city manager submits the budget, it’s based on a number of inputs,” Rogers said.

These include requests from departments, which Rogers said always exceeds the available amount of anticipated funding. The budget must be balanced. That can mean cutting services or expenses, but Charlottesville in recent years has sought to increase revenue by increasing various taxes. 

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Council briefed on revenue projections; $5M surplus projected for current fiscal year

The end of the fiscal year is 161 days away, and it’ll be about ten months or so until accountants will know if the City of Charlottesville will have a shortfall or a surplus. Council gets a quarterly briefing on revenue collections and spending and got a projection for another surplus from city staff.

“We’re looking at a total of about $5 million,” said budget director Krisy Hammill. “Most of those are driven by the tax revenue sources that we continue to talk about. The real estate tax… reassessment notices for calendar year 2023 will be going out at the end of this month.” 

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Council agrees to renew lease with McGuffey Arts Center

For many years, the City of Charlottesville rented out properties throughout the city with no central way of knowing who was where, how much they were paying, and whether the public was receiving any benefit by subsidizing tenant rents. Last year, Council was briefed on efforts to get the issue under control. (read the story)

Now, the city is considering renewal of the lease with the McGuffey Arts Center which is housed in a former elementary school in downtown Charlottesville that has been used by artists, artisans, and artsy people for several decades.

“The McGuffey Arts Association has leased this building from the city since 1975,” said Brenda Kelley, redevelopment manager for the city City of Charlottesville.  

“We are an arts association that is run like a cooperative and run on committee and on sweat equity,’ said Amanda Liscouski is the Executive Council President for McGuffey’s current fiscal year. “We have 100 associate artists in our community who exhibit in our space and teach in our space as well as 50 renting members who have studio space.” 

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Charlottesville seeks proposals for affordable housing fund

Applications all in for two other recent requests for proposals

Charlottesville City Council adopted a new Affordable Housing Plan in March 2021 that called for reform to the way city funds are handed out to nonprofits and others. Last October, the city announced a new approach which created four distinct funding opportunities and have so far released details on how to apply to three of them. 

Yesterday the city issued a request for proposals for the final bucket.

“This competitive application process is open to affordable housing organizations that actively address the affordable housing needs of low- and moderate- income households,” reads a press release for the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. “CAHF funds will be used to support affordable housing projects located within the City of Charlottesville.”

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Charlottesville City manager report: Interim City Attorney in place

Later on this evening, the Charlottesville City Council will have their first meeting of the year. One of the items is a report from interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers who will celebrate his one year anniversary on January 31. These written reports provide a glimpse into the operations of the city government and here are some of the highlights. (read the report)

  • Allyson Davies is serving as the city’s interim City Attorney following the sudden resignation of Lisa Robertson late last month. Davies has been with the city since 1999 according to a question that ended up being a Freedom of Information Act request. The position has been advertised. Rogers writes that he wants the position filled in three months. 
  • The city has hired a labor relations manager to manage the new collective bargaining ordinance which went into effect on January 1. Petitions and elections will be conducted in February with the first bargaining period set to begin in March. 
  • Seven firms have responded to a request for a firm to conduct the city’s next strategic plan. A selection will be made by the end of the month with the work set to begin in February. Strategic plans help local governments prioritize what staff members should be doing. 
  • The pedestrian tunnel under the Belmont Bridge has reopened. A mid-block crossing at Graves Street will be permanently closed once a sidewalk between Graves and Levy is completed. 
  • A temporary bus stop has opened on East High Street as a sidewalk is built in front of the AT&T building. The stop was recently moved to prevent impatient and potentially unstable motorists from using parking lots to pass stopped buses.
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Council discusses additional funding for Vibrant Community process

Charlottesville human services officials have asked City Council for more money for nonprofit agencies that provide services for individuals and households in need. That was one takeaway from a December 5, 2022 work session on the city’s Vibrant Community Fund. (agenda memo)

The city issued a request for proposals for funding in early October. The number of applications increased from 28 for the current fiscal year to 50 for the next one. There were 12 applications from entities that had never requested money before. 

“There’s a range of asks from organizations this year ranging from about $5,000 all the way up to $335,000,” said Misty Graves, the Director of Human Services for the City of Charlottesville. “Without any changes to the current flat allocation of funds to the Vibrant Community Fund, organizations are going to expect to get significantly less than their asks.” 

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Albemarle and Charlottesville set to collect plastic bag tax starting January 1

If you use plastic bags provided by grocery stores to take your food and beverages home in Albemarle and Charlottesville, it’s going to cost you slightly more. 

“As authorized through Virginia Code §58.1-1745, retailers will be required to charge $0.05 per disposable plastic bag provided to customers at checkout,” reads a press release sent out late Monday. 

The idea is to incentivize people to carry reusable bags. Revenue must go to specific sources including purchase of bags for people with eligible incomes, a marketing campaign for environmental education, or litter clean-up programs. 

The tax itself will be administered by the Virginia Department of Taxation. 

For more information: 

Are you a retailer? Are you prepared to implement the fee? What about a consumer? Will this change your behavior?

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the December 20, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.


Charlottesville Planning Commission pre-discuss capital improvement program at pre-meeting

For much of the next couple of weeks, you’re going to read and hear a lot from meetings I’ve not yet been able to get to. That begins right now with the first of several reports from the December 13, 2022 meeting of the Planning Commission. 

The official start to the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and that’s what the calendar entry on the city’s website says. But the Commission starts a pre-meeting at 5 p.m. at which official business is discussed. 

One of the items on the regular agenda was the draft capital improvement program. Chair Lyle Solla-Yates took the opportunity during the pre-meeting to ask a broad question.

“We have a lot of I think important projects that are not recommended for funding in this [Capital Improvement Program],” Solla-Yates said. “I suspect they are important and we need them. I would like to have a better understanding from staff about how difficult this is to not fund them. How much pain are we in for?” 

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Charlottesville Climate Action Plan to be added to the Comprehensive Plan

City awards contracts for Preston / Harris study, new fuel tank for city fleet

When they meet on December 13, the Charlottesville Planning Commission will vote to recommend the re-adoption of the Comprehensive Plan in part to address a legal issue that may have occurred when the current version of the document was originally approved on November 15, 2021. 

In late August, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Claude Worrell dismissed three of four counts on a lawsuit calling for the Comprehensive Plan to be overturned, but said he would hear arguments on a claim that the public notice was not sufficient. The readoption will render those claims moot because a new public hearing will be held on December 13. (read my story)

But the notice is not the only change that will be made before the public. Charlottesville’s Climate Action Plan will also be added to the document but in slightly revised version not yet seen by Council. (Review the November 22, 2022 Climate Action Plan)

“It is a community-wide plan that has been developed based on the key sources and sectors of greenhouse gas emissions and contains a framework of actions that can be implemented by and throughout the community,” reads a December 8 press release

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Albemarle and Charlottesville reach new agreement on court parking

When the new joint General District Courthouse to serve both Albemarle and Charlottesville opens in a few years, county residents will be able to use either a surface lot on Market Street or the Market Street Parking Garage. That’s according to an amendment to a 2018 agreement that’s before both City Council and the Board of Supervisors. 

“The city and the county entered into an agreement to build and keep the General District Court downtown,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. 

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