Charlottesville planners briefed on $23.4 million capital budget
A new city fire station and a long-awaited upgrade of Old Lynchburg Road will proceed next year if a proposed $23.4 million capital improvement program is adopted by Charlottesville’s City Council in the spring.
The money will come from a variety of sources, including a $4.8 million transfer from the general fund, as well as a proposed bond sale of $15.9 million. The University of Virginia is contributing $750,000 toward the fire station, which will be built on Fontaine Avenue. That project’s total cost is $8.75 million.
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Another source of funding for next year’s CIP is the transfer of an expected $2 million fund balance from this year’s budget, which will allow the Old Lynchburg Road project to move forward. The project had been pushed back to 2014 after the Biscuit Run development became a state park, costing the city $1.5 million in proffers from the developers of the Albemarle County project.
“Council has directed that that get funded all at one time,” said city budget director Leslie Beauregard.
Sidewalks and bike lanes will be added to Old Lynchburg Road to satisfy the Fry’s Spring neighborhood’s concerns that high traffic volumes are a threat to its residents.
“The sidewalks have become a huge need with the increased volume of traffic, which puts our increased numbers of pedestrians only inches away from being hit on a daily basis,” said resident Jeanne Chase in an e-mail.
The proposed CIP budget contains $300,000 for new sidewalks, $500,000 for a new bathhouse at Washington Park pool and $50,000 for new bicycle infrastructure. Another $1 million contribution will go to the Charlottesville housing fund, which is awarded to nonprofits working to increase the city’s stock of affordable housing.
Another $775,000 will go toward stormwater initiatives, a figure that staff said might not be sufficient.
“This assumes that there will be no [stormwater utility] fee in place for 2012,” Beauregard said.
In previous years, the commission has recommended implementing a fee that would charge property owners for impervious surfaces. However, the council has not yet chosen to do so.
Jim Tolbert, director of neighborhood development services, said the city will likely have to significantly invest in the stormwater system to comply with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements, known as the Total Maximum Daily Load, if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires localities to upgrade their stormwater systems.
“We’re looking at between $3 million and $15 million a year based on what iteration of the TMDL is adopted,” Tolbert said.
The CIP for fiscal year 2012 will not contain a $625,000 allocation for the Piedmont Family YMCA.
“That was moved to  because their construction schedule is being pushed out as they’re trying to get their fund-raising done,” Beauregard said. “It doesn’t hurt them at all, but it helps us balance the budget.”
The CIP also does not include any funding for improvements to the city’s water and sewer infrastructure. That money comes instead from utility rates.
The CIP budget for FY 2012 is 31 percent lower than the $33.85 million budget adopted in the current fiscal year. This is the year in which federal and state funds to pay for the Meadow Creek Parkway interchange have been disbursed to city coffers.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the budget at its meeting on Dec. 14. Councilors will be presented with the budget in March and will adopt the budget in April.
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