Charlottesville City Council discusses FY 2015 budget

A number of public hearings are to be held regarding the budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2015


Charlottesville City Council meeting, 2012.

Charlottesville City Council met Monday evening to discuss the proposal for the city’s budget for the fiscal year of 2015.

The proposed $150.6 million budget, presented by City Manager Maurice Jones, was 1.65 percent larger than last year and includes $16.5 million toward the city’s Capital Improvement Program. The proposed increase is largely because of a decrease in state funding of city schools.

“The one part [of the budget] that’s somewhat contentious is the school budget,” City Councilwoman Kristin Szakos said. “Because of dramatic state funding cuts, we’re still looking to the city to fill that gap.”

Another item that factored into the increased budget is an expansion of the city’s employment services to make them more easily available to people who most need them.

“One of the things [in the proposed budget] was access to employment services downtown that are accessible via transit,” Szakos said.

Currently, the city’s employment services are located on Hydraulic Road and are difficult to access. The downtown location will supplement the existing location, and will start out on a small scale to reduce initial costs.

“They recommended we have a satellite location downtown,” Szakos said. “We’re trying to house it in the library with one-and-a-half staff people.”

Another new expense on the proposed budget would cover the hiring of someone to fill the newly-formed position of Urban Planner. The Urban Planner would be part of the Neighborhood Development Office and would oversee various new developments.

“There are a lot of newer philosophies about urban planning … including transit, pedestrian projects and trees,” Szakos said.

The $16.5 million devoted to the Capital Improvement Project would cover long-term projects such as streets, public buildings and other capital assets, according to the proposed budget.

“The CIP tends to have a mix of recurring programs like new sidewalk construction, bicycle infrastructure and street paving, which do not vary much each year, to large projects that are budgeted for up to several years,” Jones said in an email.

One of the long-term projects, Jones said, is the West Main Street Project, which proposes to improve the overall streetscape of the major thoroughfare West Main Street.

“If approved, that project will be in the first of three years of funding beginning on July 1st of this year,” Jones said. The budget sets aside $750,000 for this project.

Though Jones and Szakos do not anticipate major opposition to the proposed budget, two public hearings and two work sessions will be held before the city council votes on the budget, including one Wednesday evening.

Council is set to vote on the budget April 11.

Published March 18, 2014 in FP test, News

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