By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 15, 2009





Council gathered for a brief meeting to adopt the FY2010 budget

The City of Charlottesville will not be creating a full-time position to manage the City’s new efficiency initiative. However, City Council will decide in May whether to spend the $60,000 allocated in the budget for the position on measures to increase efficiency in City government. City Council adopted the budget at a special meeting on April 14, 2009, and agreed to place the funding for the “performance management analyst” position in their reserve fund.


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The City’s total adopted budget for FY2010 is $142,556,639, with an operational budget of $126,972,791, That represents a .32% decrease from the current year’s budget. The property tax rate for homeowners will continue to be $0.95 per $100 of assessed value. The City Council has budgeted itself a discretionary reserve fund of $250,000, but only has under $6,000 left to allocate according to Budget Director Leslie Beauregard.

Councilor

Julian Taliaferro

said he had a hard time supporting the new position because creating a full-time position in an economic downturn “would send the wrong message.”






Councilors Holly Edwards and Satyendra Huja


Councilor

Holly Edwards

wondered how the City would measure efficiency going forward if the new position is created. She then asked Taliaferro and Councilor

Satyendra Huja

how they measured performance when they ran City Departments. Huja was the City’s Director of Strategic Planning from 1998 to 2004, and previously served as Director of Planning and Community Development. Taliaferro served as the Fire Chief for  34 years.

Taliaferro said he had a performance contract “that spelled out measurable objectives such as response times, fire loss, and that was monitored by the City Manager’s office.”  Huja said he had similar key objectives to meet. Taliaferro said his pay was based on his performance.

Edwards asked Beauregard if those measurements were similar to the ones being proposed as part of the P3 initiative. Beauregard said that the new initiative is more about finding organizational efficiencies rather than focusing on the performance of individual employees.

“When you have your goals and objectives in place, and you know what you’re measuring at a departmental level, then you can tie it to your employee performance,” Beauregard said. “Until you have that in place, it’s difficult to tell your employees what they need to do well at.”

City Manager Gary O’Connell said the ultimate goal of the P3 initiative is to tie the performance goals with City Council’s vision and priorities.

Councilor

David Brown

was not persuaded, and said he agreed with Taliaferro that this was not the year to add a position that costs $120,000. Half of that amount was proposed to come from the City’s operating budget. The rest of the position would be paid for through revenue collected from the City’s utility budget. That budget will be adopted in May.

As she did the week before, Edwards asked again what the City would do to measure efficiency if the position was not in place. Taliaferro made a motion to use the $60,000 in some way that further study how efficiency could be measured, but he did offer any further details. He said those might come after Council holds a work session on efficiency during the third week of May. Council unanimously adopted the budget with that amendment.

Council also agreed to defer two other spending decisions by placing the funds in their reserve. One item is for $39,350 in additional City funding for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The other item would see $15,000 for the Quality Community Council’s urban farm program. Councilors said they did not yet have enough information to make a decision.

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