This budget is primarily one of maintaining what we have. It is sustainable. The total budget only increases by 0.3 percent, far less than the current inflation rate. I am proud of the departments and employees in constantly working to absorb rising costs through efficiencies. As I indicated in my Striving for Excellence briefing, our employees have actively worked to save or avoid costs totaling almost $1million. In addition, our citizen volunteers worked 1.4 million hours, adding the equivalent of more than 650 positions.
This budget is balanced without major tax increases or borrowing from the rainy-day fund, as we have done these past four years. Our current budget, for example, uses $21 million in fund balance. The proposed budget only uses $2 million, and that is for schools.
We have weathered the most recent recession, not without pain, but by focusing on our values and City Council’s priorities. The economy is still fragile, but it is definitely growing. And likewise, our revenues are improving. However, all of this is threatened by federal sequestration and its impending potential impact to our economy. The inability of the federal government to adopt a budget, any budget, continues to cause uncertainty in the business community and danger for our regional economy.
As revenues rebound and the economy slowly gets better, our quality of life improves. I see the smallest cuts in personnel in quite a while. I see major construction projects moving forward — new roads, new bridges, new fire stations, a new library and better drainage for neighborhoods. I see Virginia Beach taking strong steps to move ever closer to our 2040 Vision.
Is this budget optimal? No — but then, no budget ever is. Is it an improvement over the last four? By far.
To review the entire FY 2013-14 Resource Management Plan click here.
To watch the March 26, Proposed FY 2013-14 presentation by Jim Spore to City Council click here.