Proposed Charlottesville budget sends more funds to schools, Dialogue on Race, bikes

City Manager Maurice Jones’ proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012, a 1.55-percent boost over the FY2011 budget, includes an increased contribution to city schools, extended funds for the Dialogue on Race, and money for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The $143 million proposed budget comprises a 3.35-percent increase in the operating budget, a designated budget that saw almost no change, and the Economic Downturn Fund—which, at $716,784, decreased by about $2 million compared to last fiscal year.

“Because our departments have done a pretty good job of turning money over the last couple of years, we haven’t actually had to tap into that fund,” says Jones in an interview, and adds that because things have been improving, the $2.8 million fund would not be necessary for next year.

“What we have done is we have taken a significant portion of that, about $1.7 million, and moved that to the schools,” says Jones. While the city increased its school funding by 4.34 percent, however, the proposed schools’ budget is 1.34 percent less than 2011.

Other budget highlights include:
An unchanged tax rate: 95 cents per $100 assessed value;
A two-percent salary increase and market rate adjustments for public employees, the first since 2009;
$90,000 to expand the Dialogue on Race with the addition of a program coordinator, and money to fund some of the ideas that came out of work groups;
$430,000 for the Regional Jail, Emergency Communications Center and the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center;
$1.4 million for the Charlottesville Housing Fund (from the Capital Fund).

Revenues are projected to increase slightly from 2011. Real estate assessments will provide an additional $798,671 in revenue for 2012, and increased revenues are also expected for personal property tax, meals and lodging and sales and use tax. Funds awarded from the revenue sharing agreement with Albemarle County decreases by $364,000, or 1.98 percent.

For more information about the budget and forthcoming public hearings, click here.

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