Monday, February 15, 2010

Money Woes, Budget Cuts Take Center Stage in Charlottesville Albemarle Area

The week of February 8 brought a snowstorm...and further reiteration of budget crises at UVA, in City and County Schools, plus a decline in sales tax revenue,  and the news that VDOT has run out of money for snow removal.

1.  Albemarle County Schools Face Up to $13M in budget cuts.  There is a  Public Hearing Monday February 15, Albemarle County Office Building, 6:30 pm to discuss cutting teachers, larger class sizes, cutting programs, pay-for-play, etc.  See this article about "Albemarle County Schools Face "Crippling Cuts."

The irony is that poor schools lower property values...but property taxes will need to be raised to ensure better schools.

UPDATE 1 4pm: See the post on this topic at RealCentralVA. 
UPDATE 2 Feb. 15, 1am:
The Albemarle Public Hearing focusses on higher RE Taxes.
Teacher Cuts possible in Cville Schools.

2. Albemarle County is in so much trouble that officials are trying to get money away from Charlottesville, challenging the revenue sharing agreement.

3.  UVA, which has already had wage and hiring freezes, will have budget woes into the future. In his final "State of the University" address, outgoing President John Casteen noted 2012 is the year the Recession will be felt.  According to The DP,

....some of the budget cuts the university has taken — there have been a slew because the governor is required to balance the budget every quarter — have been softened by federal stimulus money, he said. By accepting the stimulus funding for the university, the state has locked itself in to not cutting certain other funding, and the stimulus funds have also been a financial pick-me-up, Casteen said.

But the stimulus funds end by 2012, he warned.  “2012 is the year in which the real cost of the recession will hit everyone,” Casteen said.

Read here.

4.  Retail Sales plummeted in Charlottesville and Albemarle County during 2009, according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.  From The DP:

The figures, taken from Virginia Department of Taxation sales tax data, show shoppers spent 9 percent less in Albemarle and 7.82 percent less in Charlottesville. In the same period, shoppers spent 14.47 percent more in Greene County and about 12 percent more in Louisa County.

Read here.

5. VDOT is out of snow money, and will have to use its maintenance fund if the Commonwealth needs any more snow removal this year. The agency has plowed through its $79 million budget and an additional $25 million in a reserve fund.  VDOT applied for $50 million in federal assistance after the December snowstorm.
Read here. 

Eh, fear not.  There's a miniscule chance that economics will suddenly improve, but you might want to hang your hat on it.

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