City Planning Commission gets look at proposed $35.3M CIP

If approved, about $10.3 million in housing projects, $9.8 million in transportation and access initiatives and $6.9 million for public safety will be funded in Charlottesville’s Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2020. The entire $35.3 million plan marks a 51 percent increase over the adopted amount in the current fiscal year.

Earlier this month, the City Council got a look at the proposed CIP during a budget work session. The Planning Commission got its first official look during a work session Tuesday.

The five-year total for the CIP is about $125.6 million, which represents a nearly 11 percent increase over the projected total in the 2019-2023 CIP that was approved earlier this year with the fiscal 2019 budget.

“We do this every year … because we can only legally adopt the first year of the CIP,” said Ryan Davidson, the city’s senior budget and management analysis.

“We can’t bind future councils,” he said.

The biggest individual funding requests for fiscal 2020 is a combined $5.9 million for the first phase of the redevelopment of Friendship Court and related infrastructure improvements; $3 million for public housing redevelopment; $4 million for the West Main Streetscape project; $3.7 million for a replacement fire station on the U.S. 250 Bypass; and about $3.2 million for the first half of the city’s share of the cost of a general district court complex for the city and Albemarle County.

“We’re working with the county right now to make sure the timing of these funds match up when they have them,” Davidson said.

This amount does not include the cost of the parking structure that will be built on East Market Street to alleviate parking concerns the county has downtown.

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The fiscal 2020 CIP proposal also includes $3.5 million for city schools, which includes a $1.2 million lump sum.

Revenue for the CIP includes a $7 million contribution from the city’s general fund; $3.2 million from the fiscal 2018 year-end fund balance for the affordable housing redevelopment; and the issuance of a bond of about $22.6 million.

“As always, the bonds [are] the highest source of revenues for the city,” Davidson said.

When Commissioner Hosea Mitchell asked about Charlottesville’s bond rating, Davidson said the city has the highest ratings possible from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, which has led to favorable interest rates.

The Planning Commission is slated to hold a public hearing on the CIP on Jan. 8. City officials hope to present the finalized CIP, along with the city’s operating and school budget, in March, and the City Council is expected to approve the budget and first year of the CIP in April. The fiscal 2020 budget goes into effect July 1.