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City budget cuts some services
Fredericksburg approves budget


Date published: 5/12/2010

BY EMILY BATTLE

Fredericksburg residents will see no new real estate taxes, but they will see some service cuts under the $72.1 million budget for fiscal 2011 that council members approved last night.

That is a 0.55 percent decrease from the size of this year's budget. This marks the third consecutive year that the city's budget has shrunk.

In order to keep the tax rate at 68 cents per $100 of value, the city had to shed seven positions through attrition, had to end a rental housing inspections program that city staff had proposed expanding just a few months ago, and it reassigned the school resource officer at Walker-Grant Middle School to general police patrol.

Next year's budget also uses $500,000 from reserves to establish a contingency fund for next year.

Council members approved an adjustment last night to the amount of funding provided to one of the largest partner agencies the city funds--the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Council members agreed to make a one-time capital contribution of $50,000 to the library for book purchases next year, in addition to the $1.1 million it will contribute to the library's operations.

The new one-time contribution was meant as an effort to show good faith with Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, whose taxpayers are making increased contributions to the library for next year for both books and operations, in part because of the opening of the new England Run library branch in Stafford.

Council members had previously heard rumors that the state could cut its entire contribution to the library if the city dropped its level of support.

That turned out to be incorrect.

In fact, the state money is dependent on the entire region's support for the library staying level, and Stafford and Spotsylvania's proposed increases in library funding will ensure that that remains true.

The council also decided during the budget process to reduce its contribution to the Rappahannock Regional Jail by $83,000 to reflect its opposition to a decision by the jail's board to give all jail employees a $1,000 retention bonus next year.

City Manager Beverly Cameron voted against the bonus in his position on the jail board, saying that he couldn't justify a bonus for jail employees when city employees have gone without raises for three years. Council members agreed.

Cameron's original budget proposal for next year would have closed City Hall for four furlough days, resulting in a 1.5 percent pay cut for city workers; but revenue adjustments made after that original proposal eliminated the need for furloughs.

In other news, local commercial Realtor Michael Colangelo was appointed to fill Chris Limbrick's seat on the Economic Development Authority. Colangelo will take his seat for Friday's special meeting of the EDA to consider bond fees for Kalahari Resorts.

Emily Battle: 540/374-5413
Email: ebattle@freelancestar.com


Total: $72.1 million, a .55 percent decrease over this year. Real estate tax rate: 68 cents per $100 value, same as this year Highlights:

Provides the same amount of money to city schools that the city provided this year.

This will not allow the schools to implement a proposed salary increase, but it will allow them to avoid layoffs.

The city is reducing its contribution to the Rappahannock Regional Jail by $83,000 to reflect its opposition to a $1,000 retention bonus the jail board approved for all employees for next year.

Service reductions include elimination of the rental housing inspections program, the Walker--Grant Middle School resource officer and the DMV Select window in City Hall, which closed at the beginning of this month.

Raises the admission tax from 5 percent to 6 percent. The city first committed to this increase as part of the Kalahari Resorts performance agreement.

The raised tax isn't expected to bring in any new money because of competition from the new movie and bowling complex in Spotsylvania County.