Danville City Manager submits proposal for new budget

Southside Virginia News

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday night, Danville’s City Manager, Ken Larking, submitted a draft for a proposed budget to City Council that maintains basic government services and invests in eight key areas, including education, economic development, and public safety.

Larking has proposed no tax rate or fee increases for residents and is also recommending that the Danville City Council adopt modifications to the utility rate structures that will result in a net decrease in monthly costs for customers with Danville Utilities.

The budget proposal does not include the use of unassigned reserves. In previous years, the city has relied on these reserves to pay for economic development initiatives. Instead, the city will leverage the upfront payment received late last year from Caesars to fund economic development initiatives and other projects. When the new casino becomes operational, annual gaming revenue will be used.

The proposed budget is a working draft for the next fiscal year, starting on July 1. The city council will hold public hearings before adopting a budget. Final adoption must take place no later than June 30.

The final budget will serve as a framework for city operations from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

Revenue forecasts for the next fiscal year are favorable as compared to a year ago. A $410,000 increase in current and delinquent real estate tax collection is expected, as well as a $130,160 increase in personal property tax collection and an additional $200,000 from business licenses.

Danville is also expecting a nearly $965,880 increase in sales tax revenue mainly because of new state legislation for the collection of sales tax from internet-based businesses.

The city, though, is anticipating a reduction in the meals tax and hotel/motel revenue because of the pandemic around $252,230.

In education, Larking is proposing $2 million for Danville Public Schools to pay for capital expenses, such as roof and HVAC equipment replacements and other building repairs.

The budget also includes $2.4 million to pay for the replacement of the track at George Washington High School which will help the school system host track meets and provide student-athletes with a quality facility for after-school sports.

The proposed budget provides flat-funding for Danville school operations in the amount of $22.8 million, but it includes a provision to allow the school system to keep any unspent funds at the end of the current fiscal year to use toward expenses for next school year.

The total proposed budget for the next fiscal year is nearly $280.3 million for operations, capital and debt service which includes all funds minus inter-fund transfers.

This total is almost $11.2 million, or 3.83-percent less than the current fiscal year budget of $291.45 million.

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