Attachment B – 2008 Legislative Priorities Report

 

This report summarizes action taken regarding Albemarle’s 2008 Legislative Priorities. This report will often cite information from the final legislative reports of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC), Virginia Municipal League (VML), and Virginia Association of Counties (VACo). For these organizations’ complete reports that provide a thorough overview of local government impacts beyond Albemarle’s priorities, please use the links below.

 

TJPDC: http://www.tjpdc.org/liaison/finalReport.asp

VACo:   http://app.bronto.com/public/?q=preview_message&fn=Link&id=2bxtepvv912yg1kkvdf547in5xupk&ssid=205&t=3

VML:     http://www.vml.org/LEG/08LegRpt/08LegReport.pdf

 

Growth Management, Land Use and Transportation Priorities

Priority:         Local Authority – Request that the legislature further facilitate the HB 3202 legislation recently signed into law through: 1) Modifying the transportation impact fee authority to allow for its more effective implementation; 2) Strengthening localities’ authority by enabling them to utilize adequate public facilities ordinances and other impact fees in addition to transportation; and 3) Not passing legislation that preempts or circumvents existing local authority to regulate land use.

 

   Summary:     Numerous bills were introduced related to this priority; among the most notable was SB 768, which was continued to the 2009 General Assembly. This bill would have replaced the current cash proffer system with a cumbersome impact fee process and provided funding for only roads, schools and public safety facilities. The legislation also proposed to cap impact fees at an artificially low amount and imposed limits on the ability of all counties to accept most off-site, non-cash proffers (Source: VACo). Also of note was HB 991, which was introduced by Del. Bell and approved by the legislature and Governor. This bill permits the severance and transfer of development rights from a sending property without requiring those rights to be immediately affixed to a receiving property. This authority applies only to Albemarle County, expires in 2012 and does not become effective unless or until the County adopts an ordinance implementing the bill’s provisions (Source: TJPDC).

 

Proposal:      Staff recommends this remain a County priority. For the 2009 priorities, a priority will be added to separately address impact fees and the issues with SB 768.

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Priority:         Conservation Easements – Request the legislature support and augment local efforts in natural resource protection through 1) Continuing to fund the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF) for locally   established and funded Purchase of Development Rights programs (e.g. ACE Program in Albemarle County); 2) Retaining current provisions in transient occupancy tax legislation so that funds can continue to be used to protect open-space and resources of historical, cultural, ecological and scenic value that attract tourism;and 3) Increase incentives for citizens to create conservation easements.

 

Summary:     The budget allocates $2 million in each year of the biennium to the VLCF for land acquisition purposes, which is $1 million less each year than was in the introduced budget (Source: VACo). Albemarle’s ability to utilize the transient occupancy tax to support the ACE program was not affected by the 2008 General Assembly.

 

   Proposal:      Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2009 priorities.

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Priority:         Scenic Protection and Tourist Enhancement – Request enabling legislation for an Albemarle County pilot program to provide for a scenic protection and tourist enhancement overlay district. As the County pursues options to protect the visual quality of land as an aesthetic and economic resource, this legislation would provide the County with a method to ensure full consideration of visual resources and scenic areas when the County or state makes land use decisions in designated areas.

 

Summary:     No bill was introduced to address this priority in the 2008 session. Attempts to advance bills on this priority in previous sessions have been unsuccessful, most recently in 2007, when a bill introduced by Sen. Deeds was passed by in committee.

 

Proposal:      Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2009 priorities.

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Priority:         Transportation Funding – Request the legislature 1) Establish stable and consistent state revenues for Virginia’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs; 2) direct funding efforts at all transportation modes; 3) Coordinate planning for transportation and land use, being mindful of local Comprehensive and regional Transportation Plans when planning transportation systems within a locality; and 4) Not shift transportation responsibilities, including maintenance, to localities.

Summary:     The General Assembly held a special session on transportation in June and July, but adjourned without approving any significant bills to address regional or statewide transportation issues.

Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

 

 

Health and Human Services Priorities

Priority:         Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) – Request the legislature assist localities’ implementation of CSA in a consistent, financially stable manner by: 1) Fully funding the state pool for CSA with allocations based on realistic anticipated levels of need and a cap on local expenditures for serving a child through CSA; 2) Enhancing state funding for grants to localities to create community-based alternatives for children served in CSA; 3) Establishing state contracts with CSA providers to provide for a uniform contract management process, improve vendor accountability and control costs; and 4) Encouraging the state to be proactive in making service providers available and to support local and regional efforts to address areas of cost sharing among localities by procuring services through group negotiation.

 

   Summary:     No additional funds were included in the approved budget to provide additional state funding to localities for CSA administrative costs, though Sen. Hanger and Del. Landes submitted budget amendments requesting this. No legislation was introduced concerning state contracting with residential providers. SB 483 (Hanger) requires the State Executive Council to oversee the development and implementation of uniform data collection and performance standards for the CSA program and to oversee the development and distribution to local community policy management teams of reports resulting from the collected data about children served and the duration and cost of services (Source: TJPDC).

 

Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

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Priority:         Child Care for Low Income Working Families: Request the legislature provide additional funds to local governments to assist low-income working families with childcare costs. This funding helps working-class parents pay for supervised day care facilities and supports efforts for families to become self-sufficient.

 

Summary:     The budget supplants portions of state general fund appropriations for the Comprehensive Health Investment Project (CHIP), the Healthy Families, and community action agencies with federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds (Source: TJPDC). A federal deficit reduction act two years ago means that more TANF recipients must be in an approved work activity, driving a need for employment support and child care  services.

 

Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

 

 

Local Government Administration / Laws Priorities

   Priority:         Full Funding of State Mandates: Request the state provide full funding for its mandates in all areas of local government including the Standards of Quality (SOQs), positions approved by the Compensation Board, costs related to jails and juvenile detention centers and human services positions.

 

   Summary:     Unfunded mandates are an ongoing issue and due to the state’s past actions and historical trends, it is unlikely existing unfunded mandates will be funded by the state. As part of its approved budget, the General Assembly reduced aid to localities by $100 million over the next two years. This is in addition to the reduction in aid to localities made by the Governor last October that was carried forward in the introduced budget.

 

Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

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Priority:         Local Control of Local Revenues – Request the legislature take no action to restrict or limit the existing local control of local revenues so that local government leaders can take appropriate measures to generate sufficient revenues to sustain and improve services.

 

   Summary:     No bills were approved in the 2008 session that would restrict or limit existing local control of local revenues.

 

   Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

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Priority:         Cost to Compete Pay Differential: Due to the documented high cost of living in Albemarle County, request the legislature include Albemarle County Schools in the “Cost to Compete Pay Differential” so that the County may  reach and maintain competitive compensation to help recruit, develop and retain a highly qualified and diverse  teacher workforce.

 

   Summary:     No budget language or amendments were introduced for this priority. On a related issue, Del. Bell and Del. Toscano each submitted budget amendments seeking to adjust Albemarle’s local composite index to account for the revenue sharing agreement with the City of Charlottesville. These budget amendments were not approved.

 

   Proposal:      Staff recommends this issue be included in the 2009 priorities.

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