Mayor Proposes City's Biennial Budget

FY 2009-2010 and FY 2010-2011

Mayor Dwight C. Jones presented the 2009/10-2010/11 fiscal budgets to City Council today. The Fiscal Year 2009-2010 general fund budget is proposed to be $629.6 million, a decrease of $28.5 million (4.3%) from the current fiscal year. Fiscal Year 2010-2011 projects a budget of $636.5 million, an increase from the prior year of about $7 million (1%). The second year reflects slight growth, but is still a decrease from the current FY 2008-2009 budget plan.

“Our nation is in the midst of the worst economic downturn in some 75 years. In these difficult financial times even tougher choices and belt tightening is called for,” said the Mayor. “Our theme for the next two years will be ‘Making Efficient Decisions in Challenging Economic Times.’ The fiscal plan we are presenting represents a comprehensive spending plan in line with current revenue projections and we will not be dipping into the Rainy Day Fund in the proposed budget.

"The good news is that this budget includes no increase in tax rates, and was balanced through spending reductions and realignments, the use of innovative service delivery, and the implementation of a new revenue source."

Budget decisions were made to protect core services and to not be disproportionately burdensome in any one area. The following guidelines were used during the budget planning process:

Prioritize programs: Education is held to a 4% reduction – less than the overall revenue loss the City will experience at a time when real estate tax revenues are expected to be down by 8.9%. Police and Fire departments are held to a reduction under 5%.

Make wise investments for future savings: The City is continuing the investment in Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP), which will generate long-term savings.

Strive for the least impact on citizens in any service reductions or any revenue impacts: There will be few reductions in services, and no increase in the City’s real estate tax rate.

Protect those residents of the City who are the most vulnerable: Public Health services will see level funding, and Social Services will see a reduction at about the rate of reduction on par with police and fire.

Maintain and improve the City’s fiscal health: The budget is based on generated revenues, without dipping into the City’s revenue reserves.

Use sustainable cuts that can provide savings in future years: Cuts are proposed to the amount of printing that is done along with a reduction in paper purchases, desktop printers will be eliminated, and other efficiencies will be implemented.

Use one-time cuts that can save money in the short-run without long-term ramifications: As a one-time measure, department heads are asked to constrain spending for training, travel and conferences – except as necessary for licensure and mandated training.

Approach the budget as a system-wide program – look for savings across departments and agencies, rather than viewing each departmental budget separately: For example, steps are being taken to work jointly with schools to review areas where services may be provided more efficiently.

Use performance-based measures in budget decisions: Performance-based measures were used to assess the quality of funding for the City’s non-departmental agencies.

Encourage efficiencies and economies: All departments are being encouraged to continue their efforts at economizing, including using the City’s own award winning tap water instead of bottled water.

Use innovative approaches to current service provision: The Public Works department plans to purchase new, larger garbage collection trucks for certain routes, to maximize garbage collection methods.

Use new revenue streams where appropriate: A new tipping fee is proposed at the City’s landfill that will be in line with the fees charged at the public landfills in Henrico and Hanover Counties, as well as at the private facility in Charles City County.

"I will point out that we had to take a hard look at how we fund outside agencies. In some cases we have scaled back the City support for our non-departmental agencies. And, my budget is based on assessing service charges for not-for-profits that are otherwise not taxed. I pledge to work with these groups and with City Council to find an appropriate level of charges to assess. But, I believe that we all must pay a portion of the freight of living and working in the City," said the Mayor.

The Mayor also presented the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Fiscal Years 2010-2014. The FY 2010 CIP is proposed at $67.5 million, a reduction of $15.2 million (18.4%) from the previously approved FY 2010 plan in the FY 2009-FY2013 CIP. The proposed CIP spending over the next four years is $66.4 million, $99.3 million, $97.6 million, and $70.9 million for a five-year CIP total of $401.9 million.

Traditional sources of revenue continue to fund the proposed FY 2010 – FY 2014 CIP. The FY 2010 funding includes $58.1 million in debt-related revenue and $9.4 million in other sources including federal and state pass-thru dollars. The five-year total reflects proposed debt-related funding of $388.1 million and $13.8 million in other funding sources.

First year CIP allocations include:

$18.7 million in planning and construction funds for new and renovated schools

$5.4 million to continue making City schools accessible to disabled students and others.

$4.2 million in maintenance for City Hall, much of which will help contain the building's operating costs.

$10 million in maintenance for other City-owned buildings, including libraries and courts.

$15.8 million in infrastructure improvements to City roads, bridges, street lights, sidewalks and curb ramps.

$3.7 million in economic and neighborhood development projects.

$1.9 million in parks improvements.

$3.6 million to begin implementation of the City's Downtown Master Plan.

$2 million to update the City's computerized financial systems.

$2.25 million to begin the program, architectural and engineering plans for a new City Jail.

Contact: Tammy Hawley, (804) 646-3110