Charlottesville planning panel takes first pass at capital budget
The Charlottesville Planning Commission has begun its review of a projected $80 million five-year capital improvement program budget, including $21.6 million in spending next fiscal year.
“This is the first draft and we’re just now beginning to get a picture of the revenues,” said Ryan Davidson, the city’s senior budget and management analyst.
The capital improvement program is how the city pays for infrastructure called for in planning studies such as the West Main streetscape and the Strategic Investment Area.
The current draft shows more than $10 million in the next three years to implement the West Main streetscape plan. Davidson said that even though no plans have been adopted, the money is in the proposed CIP for financing purposes.
There is only $250,000 set aside each year to build public infrastructure in the SIA, a 330-acre section of central Charlottesville.
Commissioner Dan Rosensweig asked how that money would be spent.
“What’s shovel ready?” Rosensweig asked. “There may not be anything that’s ready to go.”
“The only thing that we’re working with right now is a request for the Pollocks Branch watershed,” said Missy Creasy, the city’s planning manager. “That’s really the only thing that’s on the horizon.”
Creasy said the largest projects in the SIA plan are the acquisition of land for a linear park. However, she said the property owners might not agree to sell the land as it might not fit into their development plans.
Creasy also said staff has not been able to focus on implementing the SIA.
“A lot of resources are focused on West Main and the Streets that Work initiative and we have a new council coming in so they may shift our priorities,” Creasy said.
The new City Council will get its first chance to provide direction at an all-day retreat in January.
“The capital improvement program will be one of the biggest things that we discuss at the retreat,” Davidson said.
Commissioner Jody Lahendro said the city should hire someone to oversee implementation of master plans.
“If we can’t find somebody to take charge of it, then we shouldn’t do the damned studies,” Lahendro said.