County budget basics: How to spend $430 million

The biggest slice of budget pie goes to the school division. The biggest slice of budget pie goes to the school division.

Albemarle County Executive Jeff Richardson, who took the job November 6, went before the Board of Supervisors on February 16 to propose his first budget, which is nearly 8 percent higher than the one for the current year.

He’s recommending $428,500,374 for fiscal year 2019, a $13.5 million increase.

Per usual, the biggest slice of budget pie goes to county schools—they’ll get 47 percent, or $188.5 million, if it’s adopted, compared to $181.1 million in 2018.

The tax rate will stay at its current rate of 83.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, thanks to a 2.2 percent increase in assessments. Property tax revenues, which include real estate and personal property taxes, are expected to increase by $8.6 million—or 4.8 percent—to $188,734,918.

County employees would get a 2 percent raise and the county will add 29 full-time positions and one part-time job. These include two new police officers and additional rescue personnel in the southern part of the county.

Richardson says residents tend to judge how well their local government works for the good of its citizens in three ways: by the community’s economic vitality, its quality of life and the local government’s responsiveness to residents’ needs.

“I believe this budget strategically recommends alignment of resources and funding to each of these areas,” he says.
“It absolutely does not address every identified need in our community, that’s for sure.”

Here’s (some of) what we’re looking at:

• $201,105 for a Bright Stars classroom at Woodbrook Elementary School. The county currently funds 10 of these classrooms for at-risk 4-year-olds

• $44,500,727 for salaries for county employees

• $18,871,131 for the Albemarle County Police Department, a 5 percent increase

• $1,199,788 for Charlottesville Area
Transit, which is about $64,000 more than last year

• $178,670 for increased median
mowing, landscaping and street sweeping—up more than $70,000 from the current year

• $173,259 in funding for an energy program coordinator and to develop a climate action plan

• $116,699 for the Charlottesville Free Clinic

• $80,307 for the public defender’s office

• $50,000 for JABA’s Mountainside Memory Care contingency

• $21,218 for the Sexual Assault Resource Agency

• $13,521 to keep the Northside Library open two extra hours per week

• $10,000 for the Virginia Film Festival

• $8,000 for the Charlottesville Municipal Band