Charlottesville City Manager to Present Proposed $151 Million Budget

March 2, 2014

On Monday, Charlottesville city manager Maurice Jones is expected to present the proposed FY 2015 budget to city council.

The proposed general fund budget is $150,611,460. That's 1.65 percent more than last year.

It also includes a $16.41 million capital improvement program budget.

The spending plan allocates $1.5 million in new money for the schools, but still leaves them with a $500,000 deficit.

It also sets aside about $45,000 to help bridge a pay gap between public defenders and prosecutors. It's something that was requested last year but denied.

"They've been pushing it hard," Fenwick said of the lesser-paid public defenders. "It's not even yet, but it'd be a start."

As the group's newest member, this is councilor Bob Fenwick's first budget cycle.

He says one thing he wants to target is the amount of money spent hiring outside consultants for projects in Charlottesville.

"In the past, I think we've turned to consultants and experts too quickly," said Fenwick.

Fenwick says, oftentimes, the manpower and brainpower are already in Charlottesville, so it makes sense to keep the work in town.

"It's like you're on a team and you're ready to go up to bat and the big moment comes and the coach looks down the dugout and he looks past you and he gets somebody you've never seen before to go up and hit," said Fenwick.

While he acknowledges hiring outside consultants is appropriate for some projects, he hopes the city will cut back its spending in that area by 50 percent. He says the budget staff is still working on getting him the figures on how much that could potentially save the city.

Fenwick says, whatever those saving would be, he'd like to see them put toward things like pre-kindergarten education and public safety.

Fenwick is also focusing on ways to increase revenue. In the proposed budget, revenue is projected to rise, but Fenwick says it can go even higher.

His solution -- something he's calling "Spring Cleaning," targeted toward tourists.

"We could have a tremendous program and make this city sparkle," said Fenwick. "Let's make sure that the people who visit our community feel welcome when they're coming down here. They see a city that's clean, the people are friendly, maybe the streets are painted and washed."

Fenwick hopes that by sprucing up the appearance of the area, guests will want to stay longer -- bringing in more tax revenue from hotels, restaurants and retail.

City council has public hearings scheduled for the budget in March and April. They must adopt a budget by April 15.

To view the proposed budget, click HERE.

Important Dates in Budget Cycle

Council Budget Worksession
March 6, 2014 - 5:00PM
City Space Meeting Room

Council Budget Worksession
March 13, 2014 - 5:00PM
City Space Meeting Room

First Public Hearing on Proposed
March 17, 2014 - 7:00PM
Tax Levy and Budget Council Chambers

Community Budget Forum
March 19, 2014 - 7:00PM
City Space Meeting Room

Council Budget Worksession
March 27, 2014 - 5:00PM
City Space Meeting Room

Second Public Hearing and First Budget Reading
April 7, 2014 - 7:00PM
Council Chambers

Council Budget Worksession
April 10, 2014 - 5:00PM
City Space Meeting Room

Second Reading and Budget Adoption
April 11, 2014 - 1:00PM
City Hall - Second Floor Conference Room

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