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.
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Loose ends: budget and what’s happening on the riverfront
A restaurant owner told me this morning she thought the council was a little "sneaky" in approving the 1 percent meals tax hike in the waning days of the budget discussions after taking a vote earlier not to raise that tax. (And if you haven’t read it yet, the story on the final budget vote is here.) She asked if there was anything restaurant owners could do about the meals tax hike now, and I told her there’s an election in May 2010 and the council usually starts talking about preliminary budget stuff in November.
We’re still waiting to see whether council members really follow up on discussing how they dole out money to nonprofit groups outside of City Hall (A spending category that makes up a very small percentage of the overall budget, but sure takes up a lot of time at meetings.). The list of groups the city funds now has evolved over the years, and every individual council member always has his or her own ideas of whether it’s a good list or a bad list. For example, George Solley this year proposed cutting the Fredericksburg Area Museum’s allocation by less than had been proposed, and Matt Kelly has thrown out several lists of allocations he thinks are a little suspect in years when the city is supposedly focusing on "core services" (see the latest version of that list here). Neither Kelly nor Solley could get much support for their ideas.
A few other loose ends from last night:
- We wrote here that the city is going to move forward with some preliminary work on the riverfront park it’s been buying land for on Sophia Street. This work was talked about at a work session last night. Here is a detailed list of what this work will include.
- The council appointed Todd Williams, Fredericksburg market president for Wachovia, to the Economic Development Authority.
- There was a really long discussion last night about whether the city should allow beer to be sold and consumed in the Maury playground, next to Maury Stadium, during the Mark Newton Homecoming Pickin Party, an event that is being held as a fundraiser for JM athletics. The council ended up approving that proposal on a 5-2 vote, with Brad Ellis and Hashmel Turner opposed, but neighbors are wary of how this event will affect them. The council has to take one more vote to approve this ordinance change, and we’ll have more on this soon.