March 29, 2006
Tonight Charlottesville City Councilors took one last stab at the budget before sending it off to the public for some comment. From the onset, councilors made it a point to make sure they got more than the $0.02 decrease offered by the city managers office. Tonight was the last time they could make several cuts before the budget went to a hearing.
"It was really rolling up our sleeves...looking at the budget and coming up with some ideas on ways in which we could cut the budget further," said Mayor David Brown.
Brown and the rest of Charlottesville City Council were on a mission, lower the City's tax rate from $1.05 to at least a $1.01.
"I wanted to see us move forward with at least another two cents and we did better than that, we did 2.5 cents more. It is a 4.5 cents decrease in the tax rate," he said.
To get the tax rate down, Council needed to cut some things and reallocate other money. They cut in several areas including $320,000 from the capital improvements budget and $88,000 from the school budget. Mayor Brown says the Council cut just enough that citizens should not notice.
"I don't think we're going to see any particular decrease in services but I think we're on the edge of all we can do without seeing that," Brown said.
As always, all of this work was being done on a compressed schedule.
"We have to pass the budget by April 11. We're not like the state, we can't put it off. We're statutorily required to pass it by April 15," said Councilor Blake Caravatti.
This was the last tweaking before it goes to hearing on Monday. From there, there could be another work session before it goes to a final vote on April 11. The $121 million budget is an 8% increase from last year.