Council Votes to Cease Observance of Lee-Jackson Day

Posted: Updated: Mar 16, 2015 10:16 PM

Charlottesville city councilors tackled a several issues during their meeting Monday night.

The city council unanimously approved for Charlottesville to cease its observance of Lee-Jackson Day.  The state-recognized holiday dates back to 1889, commemorating Confederate States Army Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

A replacement holiday for city employees will be chosen by council at a later date.

The council meeting included the first official look at the proposed budget for fiscal year 2016. The spending plan stands at $155.9 million, which is a 3.4 percent increase from last year.

City Manager Maurice Jones says more money is needed for the school division and police department. He has proposed an increase in the city's meals tax from 4 percent to 5 percent as a solution. Some Charlottesville restaurants are asking councilors to reconsider this move.

"Please don't add another negative to this. We cannot afford to lose any more business to the county restaurants," pleaded Robert Sawrey, a Downtown Grille and Fry's Spring Station partner.

"I'm asking that we step back for a moment. Does this council, does this mayor want to be known as the council and mayor who ended the good stewardship of public coffers that its predecessors have maintained even during times of economic hardship?" asked Rapture Owner Michael Rodi.

Work sessions and public hearings on the proposed budget are scheduled throughout March and early April. Council will vote on the budget April 14.

Paid parking in downtown Charlottesville could be another step closer to becoming a reality as city council approved a motion to allocate funds for a parking management study.

The study would cost $120,000, and would update information from five previous parking studies as well as come up with a new management plan.

Council has been weighing the advantages and disadvantages of charging for on-street parking downtown.

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