Nonprofits Dominate Fredericksburg Budget Public Hearing
About a dozen nonprofit agency representatives spoke at Tuesday night's City Council public hearing. Council removed the public information officer from funding.
Nonprofit agencies dominated Tuesday night's Fredericksburg City Council's public hearing on its $78.6 million fiscal year 2013 budget.
The budget is 3.85-percent more than the current year budget. Included is a 2.5-percent employee raise for $533,000 and $165,775 more to offset the 1-percent increase in the Virginia Retirement System, which will recur for four more years. The city has to pay $586,040 more for VRS costs. Health insurance costs rose $247,500.
The school system is getting its level-funding request of $24.928 million. The city will also hire a police dispatcher ($32,182 - $45,055 plus $18,225 benefits), a transit mechanic from the transit fund ($37,204 - $52,085 plus $20354 benefits) and an assistant director of public works from the water and sewer fund ($72,358 - $101,302 plus $28,946 in benefits.) Council is not planning to fund the public information office position.
Some of the agency representatives that spoke included the Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope House, the local Boys and Girls Club, Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, Thurman Brisben Center, Micah Ministries, Tri-County Soil and Water Conservation, Rappahannock Legal Services and the Disability Resource Center. The local Boys and Girls Club had the largest showing with more than two dozen people attending the hearing and asking City Council to keep funding their efforts.
Elton Wright, the directorr of the CVS Distribution Center, said he is a product of the Boys and Girls clubs from 35 years ago.
"It had a very positive impact on my life," he said.
Nathaniel Green said Micah Ministries helped him get back on his feet by getting him housing, case management, employment and medication help.
"If anybody can say anything about this place negative, I would tell them they are wrong," he said. "Micah don’t give a hand out, they give a hand up."
Allen Brennan, of the Fredericksburg Volunteer Fire Company, said the city hasn't funded their requests for two years. The volunteers asked for $20,000 to help them hire someone to help them recruit. Brennan said volunteer officials have tried to get the city to offer personnel to help them recruit, but it's been denied. Council members discussed the volunteer company's request during a work session earlier in the night and decided to hold off on the funding at that time because they didn't know why the volunteers needed it. Brennan ended up giving them the answer later that night during the public hearing.
"Most of our members do not have this expertise," to recruit, he said.
Marcie Tanner said the Bragg Hill area gets ignored and she urged City Council to make changes to the courthouse project.
"Why do we need to spend $37 million on a courthouse facility for 25,000 residents? We just don’t understand what the whole purpose of this is," she said.
She also spoke for two other residents who want sidewalks on Wicklow Drive, which was a wish-list item City Council discussed at its earlier work session Tuesday. The estimate to add curb, gutter and sidewalk is $180,000.
City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget at its April 24 meeting.
Additional Budget Information
- Transfers: $108,000 or 0.4-percent increase over FY 2012
- Head Start: $215,500 a $20,000 increase over FY 2012
- Social Services: $911,670 a $18,455 increase over FY 2012
- Overall budget is decreasing based on changed in service delivery controlled by the Commonwealth
- Comprehensive Services Act: $719,125 a $99,125 increase over FY 2012
- Regional Arts Commission: $10,000 a $3,500 increase over FY 2012
- Fund new initiatives including a public arts program
- Debt Service increase $1,062,360 over FY 2012 Budget
- Interest only payment on New Court Debt: $1,389,565
- Interest only payment for Riverfront Park: $21,750
- Joint Operations increase $233,000 over FY 2012
- Library: $1,238,485 (an increase of $58,485)
- Regional Jail: $3,026,000 (an increase of $170,745)
- Regional Landfill Tipping Fees: $56,700 (an increase of $16,700)
- Outside Agencies' funding remained relatively flat compared to FY 2012 budget
- General Operational Budget total increase of $145,100 or 2 percent over FY 2012
- The total amount of capital outlay has remained relativity flat from FY12; $684,850 is recommended for FY13
- Major capital replacement includes nine Fredericksburg Police Department cars, two Fredericksburg Sheriff’s Office cars, several dump trucks, various light equipment and replacement vehicles for Public Works and replacement vehicles for Building and Development Services