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March 09, 2010

Board begins process of amending proposed $293.8 million budget

Reader comments (0) DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has begun amending County Executive Bob Tucker’s proposed $293.8 million budget for the next fiscal year. The Board is reviewing all areas of the budget during a series of four work sessions between now and next Wednesday.

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Monday’s session covered general government, and each Supervisor had the chance to suggest changes in the form of new cuts or increased spending on various initiatives.  By state law, the board must pass a balanced budget before the beginning of the next fiscal year which starts on July 1st.

Tucker’s budget reflects a $10.3 million decrease in county expenditures. One-time spending cuts range from $21,000 by reducing landscaping on county property to $100,000 by contracting out custodial services. 

“This recommended budget comes with some difficult and painful choices that change services in our community,” Tucker said.

Other cuts are more structural, particularly in reductions to the county administration and the community development department. The majority of the county’s 78 frozen or eliminated positions come from these two areas.

20100308-Foley Deputy County Executive Tom Foley leads Supervisors through the budget section by section
“We’ve been very responsive to the need to improve our operations and become more efficient, but our changes have also positioned our operations for the future by restructuring and reallocating staff to core responsibility,” said Deputy County Executive Tom Foley.

The impact of those cuts will likely be felt in the county’s efforts to guide development in its growth areas.

The Board of Supervisors has adopted two master plans (Crozet and Pantops) and action is pending on two more (Places29 and Village of Rivanna).

Assistant County Executive Bryan Elliot said the county may no longer have the resources to coordinate community input on how to prioritize the construction of new community infrastructure. For instance, the Pantops Advisory Committee has already cut back to quarterly meetings according to Supervisor Ken Boyd.

Supervisor Dennis Rooker said this trend would reduce the effectiveness of the master planning efforts.

“It troubles me that we’re cutting back so significantly in that area that we’re not going to do what may be necessary to effectively implement [the Places29 master plan],” Rooker said.

Foley said the Board will eventually need to decide what level of community engagement will go to support the plans.

“This is probably the best time for us to be scaling back, but once the [plans] are finished, and those committees are formed, it’s going to drive some demand,” Foley said.

Additionally, the county’s transportation planner has been reassigned to another department because there are no funds in the capital improvement program for new projects.

20100308-BOS-wide Supervisors listen as details of budget are presented by county staff
Supervisor Ann Mallek asked for more information on why the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation is set to receive $6,000, claiming that the county pays the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission to perform similar work.

A growing part of the proposed budget is a 4.4% increase for the county’s finance department. This includes the unfreezing of a business auditor position in county government to focus on tax collection in order to help secure new revenues. The concept was accepted by Supervisors.

The Board will discuss the school budget during Wednesday’s work session, and the capital improvement program next Monday. The amended budget will then be presented to the public on March 31.


  • 01:00 - County Executive Bob Tucker begins review of the proposed budget
  • 02:30 - Tucker lays out the philosophy behind how cuts were made
  • 06:50 - Tucker explains budget process to new Supervisors
  • 08:02 - Richard Wiggins explains why revenues are down
  • 13:30 - Supervisor Boyd asks a question about transfers between CIP and operating budgets
  • 18:22 - Wiggins outlines some of the factors that contribute to expenditure increases
  • 22:00 - Deputy County Executive Tom Foley describes cuts to general government
  • 25:30 - Discussion begins on frozen positions
  • 29:00 - Discussion of cuts to Board of Supervisor's office
  • 31:00 - Discussion of cuts to County Executive's office
  • 32:00 - Rooker questions Chamber of Commerce support of political advertising
  • 35:40 - Foley describes the purpose of unfreezing a business auditor position
  • 40:30 - Foley describes savings associated with eliminating Microsoft enterprise agreement
  • 41:00 - Discussion of funding for a primary election if one is necessary in 2011
  • 42:30 - Discussion of how stormwater position might be paid for
  • 43:30 - Discussion of contracting out custodial services
  • 48:30 - Foley discusses service impacts
  • 50:00 - Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier asks question about property assessments
  • 53:30 - Supervisor Ken Boyd asks about potential increases to City-County fire contract
  • 55:30 - County spokeswoman Lee Catlin describes marketing efforts for ACE
  • 57:50 - Supervisor Duane Snow asks what temperature the heat is on in county buildings, rental of county buildings
  • 1:02:15 - Thomas asks how revenue sharing payments will increase or decrease in the next few years
  • 1:03:30 - Dorrier asks about reduction in line item for community relations
  • 1:05:30 - Discussion of master planning efforts
  • 1:12:15 - Snow calls for county to reduce printing of documents
  • 1:14:30 - Foley moves discussion to Community Development Department budget
  • 1:19:30 - Boyd asks if school system is creating ongoing positions using stimulus money
  • 1:27:45 - Foley moves discussion to Facilities Development Department
  • 1:29:30 - Foley begins discussion of agencies funded by Community Development
  • 1:31:30 - Mallek requests information on what ACCT does for its funding
  • 1:34:10 - Dorrier asks about the amount the county pays for CTS
  • 1:38:30 - Elliot lists some of the cumulative impacts of service reduction
  • 1:39:00 - Rooker discusses the value of having local enforcement of environmental issues
  • 1:43:30 - Rooker asks about stream buffer enforcement
  • 1:47:00 - Foley says providing staff for boards and commissions will be a challenge in the future
  • 1:48:15 - Foley explains how $350,000 in transportation funding will go to pay for ACE for one year
  • 1:51:00 - Foley talks about how master planning is going to be affected


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