March 1, 2013
The Charlottesville city manager is proposing a two percent raise for city workers as part of his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. It would be the first salary increase for city employees in two years.
Maurice Jones' plan also keeps the property tax rate at its current level, and calls for no layoffs of city workers.
The plan would raise several fees for city residents, especially for parks and recreation services. Visiting city pools and taking swim lessons would be more expensive. The proposal would also increase the penalty for parking tickets, and the cost of large item trash collection.
"We hadn't raised those fees in quite some time," said Jones. "I think we are still protecting those values that are important to the people of Charlottesville."
The budget proposal calls for the city to make up for the funding gap that schools are facing from the state. The city has been filling those gaps for the past few years.
"It will continue to be a challenge for us," said Jones. "We don't see a change in the way the state's doing their funding for K-12 education."
Jones estimates that housing values will continue to slip slightly in the coming year, but the city expects to bring in more revenue thanks to rising business assessments.
"People see Charlottesville as a good investment," said Jones.
The city manager is confident that his proposal will put tax dollars to good use.
"We're making significant investments in issues like education, public safety, and parks and recreation," said Jones. "A lot of the quality of life issues that I think people have come to expect here in Charlottesville."
Jones will present his plan to the city council on Monday. Then they will discuss it and probably tweak it over the next several weeks before it gets passed.