City Council will meet Tuesday, May 16, in a business session at 7 p.m., followed by a work session. Both sessions are open to the public.
The business session will be held in the Council Chambers on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building, which is located at 427 Patton St.
The work session will be held on the same floor, but across the hall in the Council Conference Room. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that will be voted upon in future business meetings.
During the business session, City Council will vote on the proposed budget for Danville Public Schools. In addition, City Council is scheduled to vote on proposed increases in the real estate tax rate, personal property tax rate, meals tax, lodging tax and airplane tax.
Earlier this month, City Council held public hearings on the school budget and tax increases. The proposed school budget drew the most comments. Nine citizens, including school teachers, asked City Council to consider more local funding than proposed for Danville Public Schools. As proposed, the school system would receive an increase of $1.4 million for operations for the next school year, bringing the total to nearly $20.4 million or 8.42 percent over the current level. The School Board had requested an increase of $2.1 million.
The public hearings on the tax rates garnered fewer comments, with aircraft taxes drawing opposition. The City has advertised a 60-cent increase in the airplane property tax, from 30 cents to 90 cents per $100 in value, but is scheduled to vote on an increase to 70 cents instead of 90 cents.
The City also has advertised increases as follows:
- 7 cents in the real estate tax rate, from 73 cents to 80 cents per $100 in value
- 50 cents in the personal property tax rate, from $3 to $3.50 per $100 in value
- a one percentage-point increase in the meals tax, from 6 percent to 7 percent
- a one percentage-point increase in the hotel/motel lodging tax from 6 percent to 7 percent
The City is required to advertise maximum tax rate increases weeks ahead of making a final decision on the budget for the next fiscal year. City Council has the option of choosing a lower rate, but cannot exceed these advertised rates.
An increase in the real estate tax rate would be the first since fiscal year 2003. The current tax rate of 73 cents is second only to Williamsburg for cities and 33 cents lower than the state average. Under the new 80-cent rate, a homeowner with a house valued at $75,000 would pay an additional $52.50 per year or $4.38 per month
The revenue generated by these increases would pay for the increase in school funding and initiatives to reduce violent crime and to grow Danville. The increase in revenue also would maintain municipal services at current levels and set aside funds for employee raises and increases in employee health insurance, employee retirement contributions and medical supplies for inmates at the City Jail.
City Council must adopt a budget no later than June 30. The final budget will serve as a framework for city operations from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.
City Council also is scheduled to vote on several other matters:
- A budget amendment for transfer of $186,199 in support of capital projects and blight removal projects.
- A resolution appointing W. Clarke Whitfield Jr. as deputy city clerk.
- An ordinance to vacate property on College Avenue.
- A resolution to re-join Blue Ridge Power Association.
- A resolution to sell renewable energy credits.
- A resolution to reduce the electric power cost adjustment.
- An ordinance to reflect changes in the City’s personnel system.
- A resolution to enter into a lease agreement that will allow the Registrar’s Office to occupy space on the first floor of the First Citizens Bank building at 530 Main St.
- A budget amendment to provide for receipt and appropriation of a grant in the amount of $55,220 from the Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services board for use by the Parks and Recreation Department to conduct a recreation enrichment program and expanded summer program.
In addition to these votes, City Council will hold a first reading on two matters:
- A grant of $183,611 for the victim witness assistance program operated by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
- A grant of $44,635 to be used to fund the salary of an attorney or victim’s advocate to work in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court dealing with victims of domestic violence.
A first reading is an introductory step required by City code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This step serves to provide public notice of pending action. Council cannot vote on the budget amendment Tuesday. The earliest vote that can take place will be the June 6 City Council meeting.
During the work session, City Council will review the latest monthly financial reports and hear a presentation on the findings from a River District bike and pedestrian study and a Mount Cross Road intersection improvements study.
In addition, City Council will held a closed meeting as allowed by state law to discuss a prospective business or industry and to discuss acquisition of real property or disposition of publicly held real property.
River City TV, the city’s government access channel, will air the business session. Watch it live on cable (Comcast channel 10 and Gamewood channel 122) or streaming on the River City TV Facebook page. and the city’s YouTube channel — DanvilleVaGov.
River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.