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Charlottesville’s recommended budget to be built on meals tax increase

When Charlottesville’s city manager unveils his recommended budget for next fiscal year, it will be based on a 1 percentage point increase in the meals tax in order to close a budget deficit.
 
“I would agree to one percent on the meals tax because it will bring in $2.1 million,” said Mayor Satyendra Huja.
 
That was one of several decisions made at a City Council budget work session this week. 
 
“There are a number of important issues that we need to get an understanding of where council is as we’re putting together the budget,” said City Manager Maurice Jones.
 
Before Jones formally presents the budget to the council in March, city budget staff need to know where elected officials stand on several issues, including the School Board’s request for additional funding and whether the city would invest in eight additional police officers.
 
“By state code we must advertise the real estate tax rate 30 days before the public hearing on the tax rate, which is on March 16,” said Leslie Beauregard, the city’s budget director. 
 
That means the advertised tax rate has to be set by Feb. 10, the deadline to get notice of it in the newspaper. The council cannot raise the tax rate any higher than what is advertised without starting the whole process over again.