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Albemarle finished fiscal 19 with $5.9 million surplus

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Albemarle County had higher revenues than expenditures for the fiscal year that ended in July and will have approximately $5.9 million available for one-time uses.

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday discussed long-range financial planning and the upcoming fiscal year 2021 budget, which will start July 1, including recommendations from staff on how the $5.9 million could be used.

“These are not set in stone, and they're just things for conversation starters at this point,” said Lori Allshouse, the county's director of management and budget.

County staff recommended $1.5 million go towards projects in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Approximately $1.8 million was recommended to go towards “leveraged capacity for community initiatives,” which Allshouse described as one-time requests from some community organizations like the Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust, the Boys & Girls Club and a recent public request from the Claudius Crozet Park board for funding for a new facility.

The county’s economic development fund and Climate Action Fund reserve were recommended to get $250,000 each.

The remaining $2.1 million was recommended to be kept for use in the upcoming fiscal year 2021 budget.

“You can do some things in the current fiscal year,” Allshouse said. “It's not so rigid that you have to wait for [fiscal year] 21. But we would like to hold some funding for [fiscal year] 21.”

Supervisor Rick Randolph, who did not run for re-election and will be replaced on the board in January, said he wanted to see at least $1.2 million go to the CIP.

“The one thing we continue to talk about is how many dimensions of infrastructure in the county are behind the marker where we need to be considering the level of growth that this county has experienced over the course of the last decade to two decades without the commensurate investments in public infrastructure,” he said.

Board Chairman Ned Gallaway said he would like to see the approximately $1.8 million that was recommended for community initiatives go into the board’s “Advancing Strategic Priorities Reserve” which was allocated $2 million in the current fiscal year’s budget to fund projects related to those priorities.

“That way, if people are asking us for the funds, then they're connecting into our strategic plan, versus saying we're just going to open up or put aside a pot of money for community initiatives,” he said.

The board will have another budget work session on January 15. The county executive’s recommended budget will be presented to the board on February 19.

The board also heard an update about the development of a form-based code for the Rio Road-U.S. 29 area, and recommended that form-based code be an optional overlay zoning district instead of replacing the current base zoning in the area. The county Planning Commission had the same recommendation in November.

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