City Council Spending Woes

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 4, 2005

City council met to discuss it's nearly $106 million spending plan on Monday, March 4. The council themed this process: "reducing the cost of city government." Reductions range from eliminating 14 staff positions to cutting over $2 million in spending.

"The bottom line is what the city taxpayer is having to not pay out of their pocket and that number improved by 5.5 percent," said Vice Mayor Kevin Lynch.

But some citizens think while the city is cutting costs in some areas, they should focus on adding funding to others.

"If there's anything we can do to help these guys out to increase their pay--they do a lot for us here in Charlottesville--I'm just here to support them as much as I can," said small business owner and police supporter Rod Howard.

Members and supporters of the police department were on hand and lobbied for higher salaries and better long-term benefits.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo. "There's a public safety work group to address these issues. I think this group will continue to meet and will continue to strategically and systematically be again chipping away at some of the issues on the table."

The numbers may not be as high as some would hope, the proposed budget increases funding for public safety and schools, which account for over one half of spending.

The council is still planning on reducing the real-estate tax by four cents and eliminating commercial trash pick-ups. The city plans to adopt the budget on Tuesday, April 12.

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