Tuesday, April 20, 2010

City Council: Budget recommendation – Updated w/presentation

Director of Finance, Ann Shawver

UPDATED: Click here for budget presentation

The recommended budget for fiscal year 2011 is balanced declared Sherman Stovall Director of Management and Budget. The $253 million budget is a decrease of 1.4% from last year – it includes the 2% meals tax and fee increases approved by council.

Cuts in services include bulk trash pick up on alternating weeks, one day library closures, street paving and cleaning reductions. Pool operation will be scaled back to 3 days a week and production of the city calendar and magazine will be eliminated.

The closing of the Crisis Center brought another round of finger pointing to Richmond. Stovall lamented that further cuts by the governor are expected anyway and that elimination of the program is inevitable even if council restored its share of the funding.

Maintenance of buildings and equipment are being postponed. “This is not sustainable over time,” said Stovall.

Fifty-one city employee positions are being eliminated along with employee training. In addition a $900,000 contingency will be maintained in anticipation of more state cuts.

On the revenue side the Director of Finance, Ann Shawver “wished she could say something positive about it.” The sales tax has decreased 16% from last year. Shawver expects further decreases due to the 220 Walmart relocating to the county and the opening of a new Lowe’s store in Salem.

The 36.42% school funding formula will adjust to 41% with the extra 2% meals tax funds. The pledge to increase funding by $500,000 yearly was halted and justified by the meals tax increase. The pledge stands at $1 million for this year. Shawver also made council aware that $7 million of debt service for school capital projects is an additional city contribution.

The meals tax will generate $4.4 million to the public schools but Shawver noted that the actual number is lower than that “because that is one of the taxes that is contracting.”

Shawver thinks it prudent to be conservative in revenue projections as she anticipates future decline. “Our sales tax revenue is taking us back to our fiscal 2004 times,” said Shawver.

One of the only growth areas was $1 million increase in real estate revenue primarily due to new construction. “This [increase] is the lowest growth we’ve seen in probably 20 maybe 30 years,” said Shawver. Roanoke is lucky to see any growth at all in comparison to other localities.

On May 3 there will be a public hearing on the budget at 6:00 pm. A council budget study will take place on May 6 and 7 with the final budget adopted on May 10.

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Elaine Bays, Director of Cable Access, RVTV presented their budget for fiscal year 2011. The limitations to televising council briefings in the EOC (Room 159) were touched on again. “It’s far livelier than what we do in council chambers,” said Councilman Rupert Cutler. No high priority briefings have been moved to council chambers as suggested a year ago.

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Public interviews of school board applicants took place at 4:00 pm. The applicants interviewed were Reverend James Beatty, Chris Craft, John Elliott, Jr., Annette Lewis, Joelle Miller, Brenda Tatum and reapplying was Suzanne Moore.

At the 7:00 pm council meeting 15 citizens presented their recommendations for their school board candidates of choice. The candidate selected by council will be made public on May 3.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics, Roanoke City Public Schools

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Comments (2)

Newt

April 21st, 2010 at 6:29 PM    


Ms. Garner,

If the City had kept Countryside Golf Course open, wouldn’t the revenue generated been able to be used to retire some of the outstanding debt on the purchase of the property?

Is it also true that now that the golf course is closed, there is no hope of recovering any of the annual $400,000 interest payment needed to pay on the Countryside debt?

Ms. Garner, can the city’s decision to close Countryside Golf Course be considered sound fiscal policy considering the details of the debt repayment?

Val

April 21st, 2010 at 6:58 PM    


Mr. Newt,

“Sound fiscal policy” … I think I saw that on a Tea Party sign :)

The property is really looking bad – I need to get my “For Sale” sign up.

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