Thursday, May 5, 2011

Council finalizes details on city budget – Jefferson Center roof leak

Thursday morning Roanoke City Council made final decisions on most all the items citizens brought to the budget hearing held the previous week. With revenue stabilizing, the school board funding formula revamp and the new process city manager Chris Morrill brought on board (Budgeting for Outcomes) this year was a breeze compared to last.

Council will adopt the budget Monday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Recycling: The potential savings of $295,000 would be offset by having to hire one full-time employee and possible other cleanup around six drop off centers placed around the city. Recycling will remain “as is.”

Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia: The Human Services Committee recommended they not be funded. The decision though will be delayed as the decision is being appealed to the Human Services Committee. The committee has a scoring system that divides a total of $452,000 between all agencies.

Brain Injury Services is requesting $18,400 for FY2012. According to assistant city manager Sherman Stovall there is $16,000 yet to be allocated. Due to some confusion Brian Injury Services failed to apply for HUD funding this year. They received $10,000 in FY2011.

Western Virginia Land Trust: The request for $2600 will not be funded. City manager Chris Morrill and city attorney Bill Hackworth both noted that funding the monitoring of the Carvins Cove and Mill Mountain easements was not part of the agreement with the Trust. All thought they had done enough by granting the easement. This was supported by Rupert Cutler.

Virginia Cooperative Extension: They will remain level funded at $68,300. Council asked to continue monitoring the benefits of the extension for subsequent year funding.

Deer Culling/Urban Archery: Urban Archery came off the table quickly. Assistant manager Brian Townsend called it more of a recreational sport. Deputy chief Tim Jones was there for questions. It bit the dust quickly as Townsend explained the state mandate components – licensing, non-antler deer (does) only, private property with acreage and only 300 deer were culled in the entire state in 2010.

The funding allocation of $75,000 for three years stood as recommended. This averaged out to $165 per deer culled with 396 deer culled in the past three years.

Cell Phone Stipend: To eliminate administration overhead and ease the complicated procedure of reimbursement for business calls on personal data assistants and cell phones city council and some employees will now receive a stipend. The stipend will replace cell phones provided by the city. It will be eased in over time as the phone numbers are eliminated to minimize confusion for callers.

Public Safety personnel will continue to use city devices. The stipend is $30 for a cell phone and $50 per month for personal data assistants. It is expected to be budget neutral.

City attorney Bill Hackworth brought up the FOIA workshop discussion held last week. He reminded council members that city business conducted via personal assistants are subject to FOIA requests.

Jefferson Center emergency maintenance: Cyrus Pace executive director of the Jefferson Center said there is a leaky roof that needs fixing as well as other maintenance needs coming down the pike. After discussion between council members city manager Chris Morrill said “what he is hearing from council is that it won’t be the whole amount but a challenge amount based on fundraising.”

The Jefferson Center will need to show they have a maintenance plan going forward and they will continue to maintain the city’s asset. “It will be a one-time deal on this and it will not be precedent setting,” said Morrill. He will come back to council with a recommendation.

Funding the Virginia Cooperative Extension Agency tops public hearing as does deer culling

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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