City, county and university leaders share priorities in first “State of the Community” event

Charlottesville's first "State of the Community."
Charlottesville's first "State of the Community."(WVIR)
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and University of Virginia leaders are discussing their top priorities for the year. It’s all part of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s first-ever “State of the Community” event that will be held Friday morning at the new CODE building downtown.

Three big priorities they shared include affordable housing, taxes and equity.

“If you want to attract and retain a talented workforce, you need to make sure there are places where people can live affordably,” said University of Virginia President Jim Ryan.

The university is working with developers to build affordable homes on its unused land. The school is also considering requiring second-year students to stay on grounds.

“If students are in housing that we construct and are on grounds, that means that housing that they would’ve occupied would now be available for others,” Ryan said.

Albemarle County Executive Jeff Richardson said getting incentives for affordable housing is a “work in progress.”

“We’ve asked our staff to go back and look at projects that have been approved, and lets model all the various options and incentives and see what that looks like,” Richardson said.

Another big question for the county is about a property tax increase.

“The board will assess if the recommended rate aligns with the affordability lens, but also, too, what do we need in terms of capacity, to move these priorities forward,” Richardson said.

Charlottesville has also talked about a property tax bump. Interim City manager Michael Rogers says that’s still up in the air.

“It doesn’t mean that the council will increase the rate by 10 cents. But there needs to be a robust discussion about the needs in this community,” Rogers said.

Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall said other city priorities include helping those experiencing homeless, access to medical care and mental health support and training, especially among first responders.

“Really looking at homelessness, healthcare access and also some internal DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) work to make sure that everyone who goes out to serve, is not accidentally causing harm,” she said.

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