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November 26, 2011

City’s capital budget lowest in years

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DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, November 26, 2011

Charlottesville’s capital improvement program budget for the next fiscal year will be the smallest in several years.

“This year’s CIP looks drastically different than anything we’ve done in years past,” said Ryan Davidson, the city’s deputy budget director.

The city has $24 million in this year’s capital budget. The budget office is proposing a $16.4 million capital budget for the coming year.

“It’s almost a $10 million reduction,” Davidson added.

Further reductions are anticipated in the four years after fiscal year 2013.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111126-CPC-CIP

 Davidson said reductions in state and federal funding, plus a sluggish economy, are responsible.

“We know we’re probably going to lose some highway dollars and maybe some state funding for police and constitutional officers,” Davidson said.

The proposed CIP would transfer $1.28 million to the school system. It also includes $500,000 from the state for Hillsdale Drive Extended and $1.46 million in Virginia Department of Transportation revenue sharing funds for the Belmont Bridge replacement.

“We’ve accumulated a little over $4 million [toward the bridge],” said Jim Tolbert, neighborhood development services director. “We’ve got an $8 million to $10 million gap but we’ve had conversations and we believe that once we get plans done that there will be money made available.”

Park projects include $750,000 for improvements to Rives Park and $375,000 for upgrades to Azalea Park. The city will spend $95,000 to buy more land for parks. Another $100,000 will go for new bicycle infrastructure and $285,000 for new sidewalks.

The city will contribute $576,000 toward a regional police firearms range. Currently, city police use facilities at the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club.

“Based on the agreement now, we do not have enough training days to have all of our officers certified, which will cause us to send them out of town to be certified,” Davidson said.

The city will raise less money in bonds, as well. The city raised $15.6 million from bond sales in the current fiscal year but expects to sell only $7.8 million next year.

The new YMCA in McIntire Park is slated to receive $625,000 in city funds. However, Planning Commission member Dan Rosensweig said the city could consider delaying that if the project remains on hold.

“You don’t want the money sitting in the CIP if it can go somewhere else,” Rosensweig said.

The Planning Commission will have a public hearing on the its at their meeting Dec. 13. 

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