Cville Faces Final Budget Work Session without State Budget - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cville Faces Final Budget Work Session without State Budget

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Charlottesville city leaders are once again crunching the budget numbers.

They have not yet discussed how they would respond if state lawmakers fail to pass a budget by July 1. Schools and social services could take a big hit, but the city says it's prepared for whatever comes its way.

City Council will formally adopt a city budget Friday afternoon. Leaders are meeting for their final work session Thursday evening at CitySpace on the downtown mall. They don't have a formal backup plan should state government shut down, but the city does have a few tricks up its sleeve.

Around the state, schools and localities are waiting to see when - and if - state leaders can strike a deal on Virginia's two-year, $97 billion budget. Without a spending plan, state government could shut down July 1. In the city of Charlottesville, that could leave social services and city schools taking the biggest hit.

“Like all localities in Virginia, we're waiting to see what the state decides on for their budget,” said Miriam Dickler, spokeswoman for the city.

Dickler says budget planners haven't formally discussed a "plan B," should the state fail to pass a budget. But the city could dig into its $27 million reserves, equal to about 17 percent of the budget, to keep funds flowing.

“If that does happen, we are prepared to keep funding things that get state funding and hopefully get reimbursed once that budget goes through,” Dickler said.

City Council is slated to pass its budget Friday afternoon, without a guarantee from Richmond. If uncertainty continues, some tough decisions could be on the way, and City Councilor Dede Smith says it's time to begin preparing for the worst.

“Planning is important and we do need to at least be starting to have the conversation,” Smith said.

A similar conversation is likely happening at Thursday night's work session. Compared with more rural areas, Charlottesville is in a pretty good position, as it relies on the state for only about 5 percent of its general fund budget.

But leaders are watching closely, hoping for action at the General Assembly.

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