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December 01, 2006

County planning for bond referendum in 2008

Update 12/2/06: At the suggestion of an alert reader who voted on the motion, I have changed the word "will" to "may" in the first paragraph. The complete motion can be read in this comment.

At their work session today, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors directed staff to prepare financial plans that will may include a November 2008 general obligation bond referendum to pay for future capital needs.  County Executive Bob Tucker told the Supervisors that the last bond referendum before Albemarle County voters was for the construction of Western Albemarle High School which opened in September 1977. Click here to view 2008 bond referendum timeline.

Bos20061201a

While the specific projects or revenues needed were not specified in the Board's motion, and are subject to change between now and April 2008 when the bond questions would be finalized, a proposal from staff covered the following :

Proposed 2008 bond referendum needs Cost
Major court projects $7.4 million
Libraries $49.8 million
Parks & Recreation $6.4 million
Public Safety Facilities $14.4 million
Fire/Rescue Equipment $14.2 million
TOTAL $92.2 million

Mr. Tucker characterized this as a "let's get our feet wet" proposal that will not require an increase in the property tax rate.  If successful, the County might take this approach every 2-4 years.  Notably absent from the list of capital projects were major transportation projects and schools.  The school division's capital budget has traditionally been financed by Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) bonds without voter referendums. Besides these VPSA bonds, Albemarle County has no outstanding general obligation bond debt. 

The County's TOTAL Capital Improvement Program (CIP) currently under review, has projects including schools that total $410 million over ten years.  As currently drafted, the first five years of the 2007-2016 CIP can be funded with existing revenues, whereas the second five years will require new revenues.

Charlottesville Tomorrow has produced two recordings of this meeting.  In this first recording Mr. Courtney Rogers, an investment banker and Senior Vice President from Davenport & Company makes a presentation about capital financing practices in Virginia. 

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20061201-BOS-financing1.MP3

In this second recording Assistant County Executive Tom Foley provides a presentation on the County's capital needs and a funding scenario for a $92.2 million general obligation bond referendum in 2008.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20061201-BOS-financing2.MP3

Brian Wheeler