The city (not including schools) faces a projected deficit of $22.65 million. How would you prioritize the following service areas for funding?
The City of Virginia Beach faces a projected deficit as we enter the Fiscal 2013-14 budget discussions. This year, the estimated deficit for city and schools combined is $46 million and is driven by rising expenses such as health care and mandated retirement costs and continued decline in revenues. The good news is that with the continued improvement in the economy this deficit is much smaller than the previous year’s deficit of $90 million. The City Council closed that gap by cutting expenses, using money from rainy day accounts, raising real estate taxes to avoid reductions in schools and transportation and raising some user fees.
With the adoption of the new school funding formula by the City Council and School Board and the dedication of 4 cents of the increase in real estate taxes to schools we hope that the School’s portion of the deficit will be more manageable. So, that leaves the city’s portion of $22.65 million deficit. The city’s half of the budget includes service areas such as public safety, libraries, trash collection and other services vital to our community. To close the $22.65 million deficit we may have to cut expenses or raise revenues. By law, we must have a balanced budget. We cannot run a deficit like the federal government.
How did we get here? Catheryn Whitesell, the city budget director, explained the current situation and long-term trends in a presentation Nov. 20 to the City Council and School Board. View a video of that presentation. Read the complete 5-Year Forecast report.
Help us understand your budget priorities. In order to reflect your priorities in the upcoming budget, You have until March 1, 2013 to complete this exercise. Your challenge is to put a "value" on the service categories that you think are most important to Virginia Beach, by spending $500. These service categories do not include schools (remember we hope the new formula and the additional $19 million provided through the dedication of real estate taxes has provided stable funding for schools).
You can distribute the funds by assigning a value to each category (the system will do the math for you). The more money you allocate to a service the higher priority it is to you. By spending no money on a category, you are informing the City that we should stop providing services in that category (this is not always possible given that some services are mandated by the State or Federal Government). Even a small investment in any category indicates your belief that the City should provide the service, even if it isn't your top priority.
Outcome: Under ReviewRead More
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