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Danville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to maintain services, programs and facilities at current levels with few exceptions for the next budget year, which begins July 1.
The total budget – including day-to-day operations, utilities and capital improvements – for the year is $282 million.
In addition to services, programs and facilities, the budget maintains appropriate cash reserves, levels of indebtedness and retirement system funding. Danville Public Schools will receive level funding – $18.7 million – from the city.
A significant initiative in the budget addresses employee pay. The budget sets aside $3.7 million to begin to address pay compression and to implement a pay-for-performance merit pay system. The budget also provides for a $900,000 increase in the cost of the city’s self-insured health plan for employees and retirees.
Water consumption rates will increase, but the budget includes no tax rate increases or fee increases. Use of cash reserves and moderate increases in debt financing make it possible to balance the budget.
Earlier this month, Danville City Council voted unanimously to hold the city’s tax on real estate at the current rate of 73 cents for every $100 in value. At 73 cents, the tax rate is the fifth lowest rate among all cities in Virginia.
However, homeowners and other property owners still could see changes in their tax bills because the city is reassessing the value of all properties this year in Danville. This process takes place every two years, and as a result, individual property values may rise or fall.
The personal property tax rate will remain at $3 per $100 in value.
In other matters on the agenda, council members:
» voted to accept two grants totaling $60,761 for repairs & upgrades to the Danville/Pittsylvania County Regional Fire Training Center.
» voted to accept $55,220 from the Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services Board for parks & recreation programs to serve citizens that are intellectually challenged. This money is a continuation of funding, which the city receives each year.
» voted to accept the donation of 126 Sutherlin Ave. and amend the current lease agreement to lease the property back to the museum. The property is a two-story, 3,762 square-foot house built around 1903. The museum is currently using it for research and office purposes and may use it for museum exhibits in the future.
These votes took place during City Council’s business session, which was held in the City Council Chambers on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building located at 427 Patton St.
Following the business session, council reconvened in a work session for less formal discussions. Work sessions are conducted in the fourth floor conference room of the Municipal Building.
In the work session, City Council:
» discussed amending city policies on cost-of-living adjustments for city retirees. Further discussion will take place next month.
» discussed proposed electric rates to mitigate unanticipated power supply costs and consolidate the Power Cost Adjustment into the energy and demand charges for all rate classes. For the typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, the net result of the changes would be a $2 increase effective July 1, a $2 increase on Sept. 1 and a $4 increase on Dec. 1. Rates are going up this year for the first time since July 2010. Council will vote on the proposed rates at its next business session, which will be June 3.
» convened a session closed to the public as permitted by state law for consultation with legal counsel pertaining to actual and/or probable litigation, as well as consultation with legal counsel and staff members regarding legal advice about specific legal matters.