This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
Visit our Facebook page.Follow @fxbgcitybeat
Back to budget, and Kalahari approved
I thought the budget talks would get easier after the elections. I was wrong. Council members met at 5 p.m. tonight, to give themselves a full two and a half hours to work out their budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 before their 7:30 p.m. meeting. They talked for a couple of hours, and here’s the best I can make out what they came up with:
Find $250,000 in savings (probably by reducing some one-time capital expenditures) to give city employees a full-year, cost-of-living pay increase of 2 percent. Know that next year, that $250,000 won’t be there to take from capital, so put the outside agencies on notice that they’re likely to face deeper cuts if revenues don’t improve. If someone can magically find extra money to reduce the proposed 5-cent real estate tax increase, that would be great.
So a little later on tonight, they’ll likely vote to approve the portion of the city budget that goes to the schools. That will give the schools $1 million more next year than they got this year. Schools reporter Jonas Beals tells me School Board members have said they’ll use that money to give employees raises rather than hire new employees.
Council members will also likely vote on proposed increases in the lodging, admissions, water, sewer and solid waste fees.
They’ll hold off on voting on the operating and capital budgets for next year, and on approving a tax rate (but remember, they can’t go above 58 cents, because that’s what they advertised).
In other news, the council just now took the last required vote on the performance agreement and tax-increment-financing district connected with the Kalahari Resorts incentives package. All votes were 6-1, with Councilwoman Debby Girvan opposed. There was no discussion.
Check out tomorrow’s paper for more on tonight’s meeting.