Charlottesville City Councilors are getting a first look at the budget for fiscal year 2014 and it looks like it could be a smooth road ahead. City Council held its first budget work session of the year Thursday.
Councilors tried to hash out the best ways to balance the budget for 2014.
Budget talks have sometimes been tough for the city in past years, but Thursday's discussion seemed to be headed in the right direction.
"Coming into tonight the thought was that we'd have about a three million dollar hole to fill in the budget and staff have done a really good job collaboratively in identifying both new revenues and new cuts," City Councilor Dave Norris.
That $3 million hole has been decreased to just over $100,000.
"It means that we won't have to look at doing any kind of tax increase or other major cuts to bring this budget into balance," said Norris.
It also means that councilors will soon have a budget in front of them that they can agree on. "I think it puts us in a good position to have a budget that councils going to like when they are presented with it in early march," said Leslie Beauregard, budget and performance director.
The focus right now is on increasing the revenue, and lowering spending. Raising overtime parking fines from $15 to $20 and upping pool admission by $1 at parks and recreation centers are just a few of those techniques to help bring in more money.
City staff says that these changes won't be very noticeable.
"Luckily so far we've been able to make reductions and have some proposals that don't adversely impact services for citizens so that's a good thing," said Beauregard.
Providing a strong support for city schools is another big priority of the budget. Some councilors also say they want to see more money made available for non-profits and social service agencies. There will be a number of work sessions, including a community budget forum, before the final approval of the budget in April.
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