CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Council is recovering after finding out the expected surplus in 2015 actually turned out to be a deficit. That swing came out to be around $10 million.

In December, the city estimated a $6 million surplus but when the final numbers came in, the city was in the red. Now, council is working with more than $4 million of deficit from 2015.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, says he and other councilors want to make sure, whatever they do, they don't increase the cost of living in the city 

At a budget retreat Thursday, council decided against a real estate tax increase. They will, however, advertise a potential increase in the lodging tax for hotels from 6 to 7 percent.

That would generate about $500,000 to help bridge the gap. Staff is working to cut another $2 million from the current budget.

“Nobody relishes cutting the budget, but we have to balance the budget. We should be run like a corporation or a business. We should serve the taxpayers and that was one way to do this that was fair,” Signer said.

The mayor says one of council's top priorities is making sure schools get a significant budget increase 
City council has a lot more work to do before April, when the budget is finalized.

Councilors will hold several work sessions over the next couple months, all open to the public.