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City Council will meet twice this week, first on Tuesday in a joint session with the Danville School Board and then on Wednesday in a budget work session. Both meetings are open to the public.
The joint session on Tuesday with the School Board will be held in the training room at the Fire Department headquarters at 600 Lynn St. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
The budget work session on Wednesday will be held in the fourth floor conference room at the Municipal Building. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. During this session, City Council will continue a department-by-department review of the proposed budget submitted last week by City Manager Ken Larking.
The proposed budget is for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The departments under review on Wednesday will be parks and recreation, public works, social services, transportation and utilities.
City Council began its department-by-department budget review last week with police, human resources and finance. Also reviewed at the meeting were budgets for the city manager and city attorney offices.
On April 4, Council will review budgets for the community development, economic development, fire and information technology departments.
Under the working draft as submitted by Larking, additional funding is proposed for crime reduction initiatives, public schools and projects designed to grow Danville. In addition, the proposed budget sets aside funds for an average 2 percent pay-for-performance raise for employees and major increases in the cost of employee health insurance, retirement contributions due to new formulas associated with increased life expectancy and medical supplies for inmates at the City Jail.
Paying for these costs as proposed would require a 15-cent increase in the real estate tax rate from 73 cents per $100 valuation to 88 cents and a one percentage-point increase in the meals tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.
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 88-cent rate, a homeowner with a house valued at $75,000 would pay an additional $112.50 per year or $9.38 per month under the new 88-cent rate.
A one percentage-point increase in the meals tax would increase a $25 restaurant bill by 25 cents.
Utility rates will remain unchanged, with the exception of the rate for streetlights, most of which is paid for with funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Public hearings will be scheduled later in the budget process. Final adoption must take place no later than June 30. The final budget will serve as a blueprint for city operations from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.