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Charlottesville Council Works to Finalize City Budget - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Council Works to Finalize City Budget

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Charlottesville City Council is trying to finalize its budget for next year.

The process includes tough decisions about using taxpayer dollars to fund nonprofits that do good work for the community. Monday night the groups who feel they need more from the city took time to plead their case.

A nonprofit focused on connecting children with theater is facing some serious cuts. Supporters of the Paramount's Arts Education Program urged councilors to restore the funding.  

The total proposed budget is $148 million, with the biggest chunk of money going to the schools. In balancing the budget, some nonprofits like the arts program at the Paramount are taking a hit. The proposed budget gives the organization $12,525, 25 percent less than last year. 

Supporters say, if the funds are not restored, it will hurt students because schools can't provide the funding. 

"Please reconsider the 25-percent reduction in funds for this valuable program. If cut, it will negatively impact our most vulnerably and culturally deprived students," said Penny Bosworth, on the Paramount's Education Committee. 

"We know that the budgets are tight and the requests come from so many agencies but I beg of you to fund the theater's Arts Education Program at the level of our asking," said Mary Reese, a former educator. 

A few other people also spoke out, asking council to consider a proposal to provide funding to help close the more-than-$60,000 income gap between Charlottesville's public defenders and prosecutors. 

Council voted to approve the tax rate in a first hearing Monday night. The property tax rate will remain at 95 cents per $100 of the assessed value.

Council will have another work session this week. It is expected to approve the budget on April 9.

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