Week Ahead for March 28, 2022: Budget season continues with real estate tax increase likely in Charlottesville

No week is ever slow in local government, but this one appears to be a lot less intense. It’s the final week of a month, and the beginning of a new month and a new quarter. After an intense March, this is a good week to try to catch up. There are no meetings in Greene County or Louisa County this week, and only one in Fluvanna.

The word of the week remains budget

Nelson County’s Board of Supervisors will meet with the Nelson County School Board to discuss education needs. Charlottesville City Council will talk about the proposed capital improvement program and how much of the $75 million request from the School Board they are willing to pay for with a real estate tax increase. Albemarle Supervisors will begin holding virtual town halls to get more detailed feedback from their constituents. The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will vote on a $12 million budget for FY23 as well as a detailed five-year action plan for capital spending. 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their ongoing support and sponsorship of this newsletter. I’m grateful to be able to spend a portion of my time combing through all of the meeting agendas to know what’s coming up, even if I can’t quite get to everything I would like to write about!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Public housing authority set to approve $12 million budget for FY23

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is a jurisdiction of the state of Virginia separate but connected from the city of Charlottesville. The work of the CRHA is overseen by a seven-member Board of Commissioner, two of whom must be residents. City Council appoints these members, and Councilor Michael Payne is one of their number. They meet virtually at 6 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

On the agenda is the adoption of the $12 million CRHA budget for FY23, which begins April 1. The CRHA Board had a work session on this document on March 17, but this event is not available through the city’s archive of virtual meetings. Tonight’s meeting will be televised. (resolution)

The CRHA anticipates collecting $102,372.26 in rent each month,  with the average rent for a CRHA unit at $320.17 a month. The budget describes how subsidies from HUD are calculated and factored in to operations. The CRHA also administers federal Section 8 housing vouchers. (read the March 23, 2022 status report )

“Section 8 leasing schedule anticipates the Housing Choice Voucher Program will begin the fiscal year with 482 vouchers leased in April 2022 and will increase by five vouchers monthly mostly by factoring an onboarding of seven newly leased vouchers less an attrition of two,” reads page six of the budget presentation.

Some of the new units under construction at South First Phase 1 will be funded through project-based Section 8 vouchers rather than be traditional public housing units. 

“Project basing the vouchers in Phase 1 will allow us to serve families from zero to thirty percent [area median income],” the presentation continues.

CRHA Redevelopment Coordinator Brandon Collins reports in his update that the first residents will be able to move in in mid-August. 

As of March 25, the CRHA was owed $118,671.60 in back rent, according to the public housing report for this month.

“CRHA is beginning an initiative to encourage participation in a rent relief effort or repayment plan to avoid eviction for non-payment of rent,” that report continues.  

They will also approve the five-year action plan for the Capital Fund Program that must go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A narrative for much of this is provided in the monthly report from Deputy Executive Director Kathleen Glenn-Matthews (report) (download the CFP)

The budget documents projected revenues for FY23 (download the presentation)

Albemarle’s Historic Preservation Committee to take up Comprehensive Plan 

The Albemarle Historic Preservation Committee is charged with “protecting the County’s historic and cultural resources.” At their virtual meeting that begins at 4:30 p.m. today, they will discuss a big question about what’s changed since Albemarle adopted a preservation plan in September 2000. (meeting info) (read the plan)

“Since the historic preservation plan was adopted, what challenges were and are being faced that slowed or stopped or are slowing and stopping achieving historic preservation goals, objectives, and strategies?” 

Albemarle is currently updating its Comprehensive Plan in a process known as AC44. The current plan was adopted in the summer of 2015 and the Historic, Cultural, and Scenic Resources chapter has this goal:

“Albemarle’s historic, cultural, and scenic resources will be preserved,” reads page 21 of the Comprehensive Plan. “Attractive entrance corridors will welcome visitors and residents to and within the County.” 

In other meetings: 
  • The Board of Trustees for the Jefferson Madison Regional Library will meet in-person at 3 p.m. in the Louisa County library in Mineral. There is also a hybrid version. (agenda)
  • The Pantops Community Advisory Committee will meet virtually at 6:15 p.m. On the agenda is an overview of transportation projects in the area as well as updates. (meeting info)
  • Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall) will host a budget town hall in person at Brownsville Elementary School in Crozet beginning at 7 p.m. There’s no virtual option. (meeting info)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Misty Mountain Resort seeking permission for expansion 

A community meeting will be held at 5 p.m. for a special use permit for the expansion of the Misty Mountain Camp Resort on U.S. 250 west of Crozet. The camp currently has 16 cabins and 104 camp sites and is allowed to hold an annual music festival. (meeting info)

“Outdoor recreation is now more important than ever, and therefore it is the intent of this special use permit to expand the capacities of the Misty Mountain Camp Report,” reads the narrative for the request to formally allow the 16 cabins and to allow 68 more campsites. The current special use permit only allows ten cabins. 

In other meetings:
  • The Nelson County Board of Supervisors will hold a joint meeting with the Nelson County School Board beginning at 6:30 p.m. They meet in person at the county courthouse in Lovingston. (agenda on BOS calendar) (School Board agenda site)
Location map for the Misty Mountain Camp Resort 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Albemarle Supervisors scheduled to hold a fifth budget work session

Albemarle County will hold a fifth work session on the recommended budget for FY23. There’s no agenda for this meeting, but this is as good a time as any to recap where we are so far. (meeting info)

In late February, County Executive presented a $565 million budget for fiscal year 2023 that is built off the current real estate tax rate of $0.854 per $100 of assessed value, as well as a decrease in the personal property tax rate to $3.42 per $100 of assessed value. Richardson also recommends increases in the rate for the food and beverage tax to eight percent from six percent, and an increase on the transient lodging task from five percent to eight percent. 

Resources for more detailed reading:
In other meetings:
  • The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee’s Policy Subcommittee will meet virtually at 11:30 a.m. There’s no agenda, but the City Council has been advised to change the governance structure regarding how the city’s affordable housing funds are distributed. (meeting info)

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Charlottesville City Council to review capital improvement program at budget work session

Charlottesville City Council will have another work session on the preparation of the fiscal year 2023 budget. So far Council has not given clear direction on how high of an increase in the real estate tax they are willing to commit to infrastructure. (meeting info)

Tonight’s session is on the Capital Improvement Program and in particular the $75 million in funding desired by the School Board to move forward with renovations at Buford Middle School as soon as possible. Many want Council to increase the real estate tax rate by ten cents this year. 

Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers is recommended a two cent increase on the real estate tax rate and to have those funds put aside for school reconfiguration. He also wants a more detailed plan for how the project would be funded. Staff has presented several other scenarios, including a seven-cent increase in calendar year 2022.

For more background, view my stories on the Charlottesvile budget on Information Charlottesville

In other meetings:
  • The Fluvanna County Electoral Board will meet at the registrar’s office in Palmyra beginning at 12:30 p.m. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville’s Towing Advisory Board meets virtually at 1 p.m. The agenda is not available at publication time. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville’s Youth Council meets virtually at 6 p.m. There’s no agenda I send this out on Sunday afternoon. (meeting info)
  • Supervisor Ann Mallek of the White Hall District will hold her second budget town hall at Broadus Wood Elementary School beginning at 7 p.m. (meeting info)

Friday, April 1, 2022

As I write this on Sunday, it seems unreal that this is a relatively slow week. What April Fools Day mayhem will await me as the cosmic balance seeks equilibrium? In any case, let me know if you have any questions or comments!

This post was contributed by Sean Tubbs. Sean is a journalist working to build a new information and news outlet centered around Charlottesville and Virginia. In 2020, he launched a daily newscast and newsletter and also created a semi-regular podcast on the pandemic.

Support for Sean’s “Week Ahead” update comes from The Piedmont Environmental Council.