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Danville City Council has adopted a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget keeps the real estate tax rate and all other non-utility taxes, fees and charges at their current levels.
At 73 cents, the real estate tax rate is the fifth lowest rate among all cities in Virginia.
The budget, however, includes utility rate increases. The monthly customer charge for residential electric customers will increase by $3.80 on Aug. 1 from $4 per month to $7.80 per month. The water rate for all customers will increase from $1.57 to $2.20 per hundred cubic feet (CCF) in Fiscal Year 2014 and to $2.40 CCF in Fiscal Year 2015. The customer charge for water will increase by $1.50 per month for all water meter sizes on Aug. 1, 2013, and again on Aug. 1, 2014.
The budget continues nearly all municipal services, programs and facilities at current levels. The Westover branch of the public library and the Squire Center would remain open. Early in the budget process, these two operations were recommended for closure.
Funding also has been restored for youth athletics.
The budget also sets aside $1.13 million to implement the new pay classification and compensation plan. Under this new plan, preliminary figures show more than half of all city employees will receive a pay adjustment in the next fiscal year.
Danville Public Schools will receive the full $17.4 million as requested by the School Board.In addition to continued funding of essential municipal services, infrastructure, facilities and support of public schools, the budget sustains support for key economic development and community programs.
A total of $4.05 million is set aside for redevelopment of existing buildings in the River District and industrial park site development. In addition, $1.75 million will be used toward eradicating property blight.
Most of the money for these economic development and community programs will come from the issuance of bonds. The bond money also will be used to complete the new Lynn Street fire station and 911-communication center, make improvements to the adult detention center and replace the Brantley substation transformer.
City Council voted to adopt the budget at its meeting on Tuesday.