April 11, 2006
After months of trimming and changing, the Charlottesville City Council adopted an operating budget for the 2007 fiscal year. In a 4 to 1 vote, council approved a budget that totals over $120 million. It included a 6 cent tax rate cut, which did not please everyone.
The Charlottesville City Council adopted an operating budget tonight that decreased the tax rate by six cents, to 99 cents. The budget includes full funding for the school system and a homeowners tax relief program. Mayor David Brown says he believes Council addressed the big question.
"The big concern [that] everyone was talking about was to see if we could lower the tax rate and relieve some of the pressure on real estate taxes, and I think we did that," he said.
Not all Councilors agreed that this cut did enough. The lone nay vote belonged to Councilor Rob Schilling.
"There are many people who thought we could have done better. They're hurting. They can't afford the increase in taxes that have gone up year after year after year and I'm standing as a voice for those people," he said.
"His campaign literature says that he has presided over 8 cents in tax rate cuts when in fact we've had 12 cents [in tax rate cuts] and he's had nothing to do with any of them," said Councilor Blake Caravatti.
Caravatti says he is disappointed that Schilling has voted against all four budgets since being elected to Council. While he believes Council could have cut more, he also feels good about the result.
"We all in the end coalesced and came up with a 6 [cent] rate decrease. If the assessments keep up next year, I think we'll be looking at another rate decrease," he said.
Counsilors did reinstate the large item trash pickup that was originally cut from the City Manager's proposed budget. As for other service cuts, Mayor David Brown says that there weren't too many this year, but some tough choices should lie ahead.
Tonight's vote meets the state's April 15th deadline for localities to vote on a local budget.