Charlottesville City Council Votes to Divest From Fossil Fuels, Weapons
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The city of Charlottesville will soon remove all operating budget investments in weapons and fossil fuel companies. On Monday night, councilors voted 4 to 1 in favor of completing those divestments within the next 30 days.
Community members have been asking the city to pull out of its investments in these companies for close a month now. Proponents of divestment said fossil fuels and weapons do not align with the city's vision, and have negative impacts on community members.
The city's core investment portfolio ranges from $50 million to $100 million. Officials said fossil fuel and weapons companies make up only a small portion of that portfolio, so divestment will have a minimal budgetary impact.
Councilor Kathy Galvin said that move is a step in the right direction for the city. Citizens and community activists are grateful their voices are being heard by the council.
“They invest our money in weapons companies and in fossil fuel companies that are ruining our planet in many ways. We aren’t asked, there’s no public input, so the public found out and said ‘change this’ and it was absolutely universal. Not a single voice opposed and the city apparently is listening, it’s encouraging,” said David Swanson, divestment proponent.
“This really, in my mind, puts us in the right direction towards meeting all of our goals as embodied in our comp plan, embodied in our resolutions about sustainability,” said Galvin.
Some people said the operating budget divestment is not enough, and that the city should also dump all of its fossil fuel and weapons investments from the retirement fund.
Treasurer Jason Vandever said the city is looking into that and plans to present options on that to the council at some point in the Fall. For now, the operating budget divestment is set to take place within the next 30 days.
Higher utility rates could soon be coming to the city of Charlottesville. On Monday night, city councilors also got a look at the new proposed rates for water, wastewater, and gas customers. Plans call for a rate hike of $3.90 per month for the average household.
The extra costs would help fund small increases in operating costs and capital improvement projects within public works. At their next meeting, councilors will hold a public hearing before voting on the proposed rate increases.
Charlottesville City Council also voted to repeal a city ordinance which prohibited ‘trick or treating’ by anyone over the age of 12 on Halloween night. It also established a special curfew hour of 10 p.m. on Halloween night for trick or treating.