Thanh -- May 5th, 2009
The draft City Budget is available online (310 pages) for public review and comment. Last Tuesday, at the City Council meeting the first reading for the City Budget was held, during which staff and members (big & little) of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters made comment. The second reading of the City Budget will be at the May 12 City Council meeting.
Here are some highlights from the draft City budget (via Mayor Kai Degner’s blog)
- The total proposed budget (all funds) represents a 33.6% decrease in expenditures from the fiscal year 08 – 09 budget.
- Although there may be some relief to come from the Federal Economic Stimulus package, at this point the budget cannot and does not rely on such relief. Any funds received will be handled through budget amendments, but it should be kept in mind that those funds will likely be targeted to specific areas as determined by the Federal government.
- The proposed budget reflects sensitivity to the need to keep expenditure levels to a minimum, while not sacrificing the level of service that our citizens have come to expect. It also reflects a commitment to the City’s adopted Mission Statement and Organizational Values. Emphasis is placed on EDUCATION, PUBLIC SAFETY, ROADS AND PUBLIC UTILITIES.
- General Fund revenues are projected to decrease by $2.3 million when compared to the current year’s amended budget and $1.7 million less than last year’s proposed budget, percentage decrease of 2.6 and 2.1 percent respectively.
- Harrisonburg continues to compare favorably with real estate and personal property tax rates around the state. According to a 2008 publication by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the City has the fourth lowest nominal real estate tax rate among all independent cities in Virginia. It should be noted that the three cities with lower rates are much smaller in size than Harrisonburg. The City has the eleventh lowest rate for personal property tax rates for motor vehicles based on an adjusted effective rate among all independent cities, and again most of the lower rates are smaller municipalities than Harrisonburg.