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FY 2021 Recommended Budget
2/19/2020

From the County Executive

 
I am pleased to present the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Recommended Budget. Albemarle County has enjoyed several years of strong economic growth following the Great Recession, and our local measures of productivity, including building inspections and taxes related to business activity and consumer spending, continue to be strong, though more measured. Our organization has been examining how we can best serve the residents of Albemarle County – to deliver high-quality services, but with a heightened focus on community infrastructure, equity, and investing in our processes and systems to ensure we’re aligning the right resources to deliver the right work. This budget reinforces those efforts by focusing investments to support our community’s priorities – articulated in our Comprehensive Plan and reinforced in our daily interactions in the County Office Buildings, in community rooms, and on front porches throughout Albemarle County. This budget will Expand Opportunity for our employees, our organization, and our community in meaningful and measurable ways.

 
The FY 2021 recommended combined capital and operating budget totals $451,021,513. This budget is balanced on a real property tax rate of $0.854 per $100 assessed value, the same tax rate as in Calendar Year 2019.

 
What is Recommended for FY 2021?
This budget recommends investing in expansions and renovations at Cale and Crozet Elementary Schools to address growing student enrollment. It begins a 5-year commitment in the Capital Improvement Plan for an additional $22.75 million investment in transportation, which is designed to be consistent and flexible funding to leverage state dollars to improve and enhance our roads and our bike and pedestrian paths. It provides funding for our transit systems. It supports public-private partnerships, which enables funding for land acquisition for economic development to generate a public good through shared investment. This budget catalyzes our Rio29 area to enhance our ability to provide convenient access to elections, in response to a state code change to expand in-person early voting – and will leverage that investment to create an engagement and recreational hub when the space is not in use for elections. It identifies $250,000 to support a strategic partnership with AHIP that will increase the accessibility of transformational climate action opportunities for residents where the cost of housing weatherization, rehabilitation, and preservation might serve as a barrier.

 
This budget recommends establishing a new minimum wage of $15 per hour and a decompression strategy that will impact over 150 of our full-time employees and over 170 temporary employees in Local Government. This budget also provides a 2% salary increase for all eligible employees in the organization. This increase maintains our position to recruit and retain employees that can deliver the best service to our community. This budget funds an expansion of our Equity & Inclusion efforts, including support for expanded language access for County services and to support a health worker in providing clinical services at the Yancey Community Center. It also invests in business process optimization work and training, to ensure we our systems are aligned to get the best results for our community.

 
This budget addresses an issue facing not just our community, but communities across the United States – a persistent challenge to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and paramedics. To address Albemarle County’s emergency medical service needs, this budget supports 12 new FTEs that would enable staffing of Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances at the Ivy and Pantops Stations on a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week basis. This proposal provides consistent, reliable Countywide ALS ambulance service and improves EMS response times to most areas of Albemarle County. The net cost to hire these positions is $332,706, due to offsetting revenues.

 
This budget also continues our support for the many community partners that directly deliver services to residents.

 
Next Steps
The Recommended Budget is really the starting point for our annual budget process. I invite you to learn more and get involved as the Board of Supervisors works through their deliberative and open process to arrive at a final budget in April.

 
Visit  www.albemarle.org/budget  to view presentations, read documents, and find upcoming meetings and events - including the Public Hearing on the FY 2021 Recommended Budget coming up on Wednesday, March 4 at 6 pm in Lane Auditorium.

 
Jeff Richardson
County Executive
Albemarle County

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