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charlottesville city budget work session now called to order. they have to finalize the budget in the next week in order to meet requirement of publishing change to real estate tax 30 days ahead of the change.
wes’ pilot program for participatory budgeting is still in the mix. no actual funding specifically allotted... sounds like it’ll come out of the strategic initiative $$.
that “council position” is likely the social media wrangler they talked about at the retreat & .YdlF
re: the 5 yr spending on public housing, wes proposes another joint work session with housing to discuss tentative plans for the city to partner with them & purchase some lots. there’s agreement on the need for this, but nothing but pushback on actually scheduling it.
a lot of quibbling about this number, which is nearly exactly the amount we’d net by raising the real estate tax by one single cent (approx $718k)
where could we possibly find this money?!
wes wants to get the ball rolling on affordable housing ahead of this april meeting with housing authority — look at lots, look at relocation & redevelopment, get an RFP out as soon as possible. as usual, galvin seems stuck in the weeds. lots of questions for LATER.
a cheerful older white guy taking over the powerpoint now. he defines “SWAG” as a “scientific wild guess.” wes laughs and tells him, “that’s definitely not what we mean by swag.”
mayor walker wants to see a geographical/neighborhood distribution of low income real estate tax relief grants. powerpoint guy pushed back pretty hard until galvin asked the same damn question 🤔
powerpoint guy pushes back against wes’ question about how many people know about the program. he says they publicize it well, it’s on social media, everyone knows about it... i’m VERY ONLINE and at city meetings 10+ hours a week. i’ve never heard of it.
we’re back to talking about that 1 cent real estate tax increase as EXTREMELY HYPOTHETICAL. it sounded like kind of a done deal at the budget retreat... this guy’s numbers are all based on the assumption that we are NOT raising the rate.
i’m getting the impression that the commissioner of revenue didn’t come here to discuss, negotiate, or even really explain... everything beyond a straight reading of his powerpoint has been met with resistance.
hi, let’s talk about this quarter million dollars to essentially hire a lobbyist for downtown businesses to work within the city government. this is a fucking trash fire, guys.
mayor walker is wondering why businesses can’t be responsible for their own marketing, why the city should fund a staff position for this. it’s surprising how little agreement there is at the table. capitalists hate the free market, i guess? 🤷‍♀️
commissioner of the revenue says they don’t currently have the ability to match tax payments to specific geographic locations - no way to say how much revenue comes from downtown businesses. there’s a plan to be able to do this, but the timeline is nonexistent.
we got pretty deep into the weeds for a while... then someone pointed out meeting ends in 20min & this is the last meeting before the budget has to be finalized and $1.36mil still needs to be cut. it’s going great. we’re discussing cutting a custodian position in the schools.
i feel like this “decision points” slide is a false choice. there’s no discussion of getting this money elsewhere — meeting this school funding need by raising a tax or cutting spending elsewhere (like maybe from the police budget)
finance lady (why don’t i know her name yet? i’ve seen her give 400 powerpoints) reminds them they can ADVERTISE a raised tax rate (required by law) & change their mind. not the other way around though, obviously. they need to decide what to advertise, not necessarily final rate.
a lot of info is still outstanding... writeup from DBAC, some studies galvin keeps asking for... there is a lot of hesitation about making decisions tonight. wes calls for another budget work session next week. there’s pushback from finance folks.
they’re talking about giving the schools less money than they asked for. schools will have to rework their (VERY thorough!) budget to adjust based on what they get. apparently this is what was done last year. mayor walker is uncomfortable with this.
sounds like the real estate tax rate raise is OUT. the rise in assessed value added a small amount of revenue... apparently this is seen as sufficient.
i think they landed on NOT raising the cigarette tax? some back and forth. there’s not a lot of interest - albemarle county doesn’t tax cigarettes, so folks just drive over the county line. no big return on raising the rate here in the city.
first (and only?!) public commenter is commending council on how nice they were to each other. this is gross.
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