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January 14, 2009

County planners review $100 million reduction to capital projects

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Albemarle County’s five year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) could be shrunk from $239 million to $138 million due to declines in government revenue from taxes, proffers and grants.  The County Planning Commission heard a report from the CIP Oversight Committee at their meeting on January 13, 2009.

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CIP-recommendations Committee member Bill Letteri, who works as the County’s Director of Facilities Development, said reductions in County revenues have meant fewer dollars are being transferred into the capital budget. As such, only one program has been added to the program this year, and that is the County’s contribution to the expansion of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

The Board of Supervisors directed staff last year to reduce the amount transferred from general revenue to the capital budget by an equivalent of 3 cents of the tax rate. Two cents of that had been dedicated to transportation, the Acquisition of Conservation Easements program and other infrastructure projects. The CIP is also not receiving as much money from proffers and grants. The reduction in funding will cut over $100 million worth of projects that had previously been programmed, from all areas of County government.

Letteri said the public works section of the CIP was cut to a level that would allow the County’s infrastructure to be maintained, but there will be no expansions. Letteri said reduction to the neighborhood plan implementation would leave enough money to pay for components of the Crozet and Pantops Master Plans, but not other plans such as those for Places29 and the Village of Rivanna.

“Everything that we’re doing to the CIP is about either deferring projects or in some cases eliminating them,” Letteri said, adding that the County would need to increase its level of borrowing in order to maintain even the reductions. He recommended changing the County’s debt policy to encourage projects that can leverage outside funds.

One project getting scrutiny is the County's contribution to the new YMCA facility being design for McIntire Park in Charlottesville. The committee suggested moving a $1.25 million project to help pay for  a competitive swimming pool at the YMCA outside of the five-year CIP as the County is currently reviewing other proposals for improved swimming facilities from Crozet Park and from Star Swimming (Fairview Pool). The Board has also previously committed another $2 million to support the construction of the facility, but that contribution is not programmed in the CIP. 

The proposed amendments to the CIP also push back construction of a replacement for Northside library to at least FY2014. The facility’s current lease expires sometime during FY13, so staff is currently negotiating an extension.

Projects suggested for deferral from five-year CIP:

  • Replacements for voting machines ($394,000)
  • Pantops Fire Station ($6.5 million)
  • Ivy Fire Station
  • Crozet community park ($2 million)
  • Northside Library replacement facility ($17 million)
  • $1.25 million commitment to fund competitive swimming at YMCA until alternatives can be reviewed

Projects suggested for elimination:

  • Climate Protection Program ($1,016,000)
  • North Fork Rivanna Natural Area ($114,000)

Other reductions:

  • Funding for implementation of Neighborhood Plans reduced by $3 million
  • Roadway landscaping reduced by $1.1 million
  • Sidewalk construction reduced by $1.1 million
  • Transportation funding cut by $10 million due to elimination of specific capital transfer
  • County’s contribution to ACE reduced by 50%, saving $4.6 million
  • Funding for stormwater program reduced by $3.7 million

Commissioner Bill Edgerton (Jack Jouett) wanted to know if the cuts to master plans would mean that no further master plans be adopted. County Director of Planning Wayne Cilimberg said the money in the CIP for neighborhood plans would go to specific projects, and not the actual development of the plans themselves. He confirmed that implementation of Places29 could be delayed if there is no funding .

Edgerton also called for a restoration of funds for the ACE program. “One of the priorities of our comp plan is the preservation of the rural area and this is the only vehicle that’s been made available to the County,” Edgerton said.  His comments were echoed by Commissioner Marcia Joseph (At-Large)

The Commission made no specific changes to the committee’s recommendations, which will go before the Board at a later date.

Fania Gordon & Sean Tubbs


  • 01:00 - Staff report from Bill Letteri , Facilities Development Manager for Albemarle County
  • 05:30 - Letteri details the County's policy on acquiring debt
  • 08:00 - Letteri details the differences between the adopted plan and the proposed changes
  • 22:30 - Leterri describes the delay to the YMCA contribution
  • 24:20 - Planning Commission begins questioning Letteri
  • 25:00 - Commissioner Marcia Joseph asks about the reduction of a "climate protection program" from CIP
  • 26:30 - Joseph asks what cuts to stormwater program will entail
  • 27:30 - Commissioner Bill Edgerton asks about cuts to neighborhood plan implementation 
  • 28:30 - Edgerton asks for details on cuts to sidewalk funding
  • 31:30 - Edgerton says he strongly supports restoration of funds for ACE
  • 33:20 - Chairman Eric Strucko asks about proffer contributions to capital fund
  • 36:30 - Strucko asks how decisions on capital transfer rate were made
  • 38:30 - Public hearing comment from County resident Sean Haggerty
  • 41:00 - Joseph seconds Edgerton's support for ACE


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