$2.03 million spending plan includes additional funding for Regional Transit Partnership

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s $2.03 million budget is smaller than the estimated $2.1 million budget for the current fiscal year, but the numbers are likely to change.

Commissioners on Thursday evening approved the spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The reduction in funds over the current fiscal year reflects not including local funding awards or contracts that do not have an extremely high likelihood of being awarded.

“The final budget will be provided in early 2020 for commission consideration at the March meeting, at which time we will have more definitive revenues identified for FY20. Should expected revenues not materialize in the first half of FY20, staff would present the commission with a plan to decrease expenditures for the second half of FY20.”

As it currently stands, the fiscal 2020 budget expects $1.06 million in federal funding, down nearly $94,000 from the final fiscal 2019 budget; a reduction of about $59,000 in state funding; and an increase of about $30,000 in local funding.

Additionally, the budget has a goal of positive net earnings and no use of the prior year’s retained earnings.

“If the previous four fiscal years are an indication, we should be able during this fiscal year to balance our budget and not use prior years’ reserves,” the staff report states. “A long-term goal is to build retained earnings, first to a safe level maintaining six months of average operating expenses available for immediate use if needed, and secondly to save for use toward the purchase of a future office building and third to have resources available to take advantage of regional project grants that require a local match.”

Among dedicated funds listed as expected revenue in the upcoming budget are $22,000 for the completion of a Community Development Block Grant planning project for Lovingston; $10,000 from a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality agreement to provide Chesapeake Bay watershed planning assistance; and $139,000 for TJPDC’s RideShare car and vanpooling service.

Also in the budget is new local funding of $75,000 for the Regional Transit Partnership through JAUNT, Charlottesville and Albemarle County. JAUNT will serve as the funding agent for the other localities in the TJPDC.

The partnership is a nonbinding advisory body that seeks to improve public transit. It is the potential first step toward the creation of a regional transit authority.

“What that will provide, we will have some additional staffing from that so we can start to analyze the data that’s being collected for transit ridership both within the city of Charlottesville and all of the counties,” said Chip Boyles, TJPDC’s executive director.

The TJPDC’s budget as approved can be found at tjpdc.org/media/4a-combined-files.pdf.