City of Williamsburg officials expect a 1.9 percent increase in projected revenues and a 2.2 percent increase in spending for the 2011-2012 fiscal year following a steady decline in economic activity from 2008 to 2010.
The City Council of Williamsburg released its proposed budget for 2012 last Friday, outlining areas that will experience both increased and decreased operating funds.
“The most significant thing about the budget is that we have done more with less money,” City Council member Scott Foster ’10 said. “We have been innovative and cost-effective with less money than we have had since 2008.”
A 1.7 percent increase in local taxes from the current year’s budget and a 5.8 percent increase in state government support funds are the main causes for such a budget increase. Meal and room taxes taken together will increase by 6.3 percent.
“I really hope to see an increase in revenue next year so that employees can get raises,” Foster said. “I don’t want to see a greater exodus with the city talent.”
Next year’s projected spending will increase by 2.2 percent to $31,872,170, while the projected revenue will decrease by nearly $4 million.
City Manager Jackson Tuttle described the increased funds in the budget proposal as a general leveling-out process after the economic recession of the last two years.
“One thing that was not referenced in the budget [proposal] was that more leeway was given for a faster, mobile process as far as attracting businesses to community,” Foster said.
Despite a nearly 4 percent increase in Williamsburg tourism in 2010 from 2009, the City Council decided to not change the funding for tourism marketing after a $300,000 cut in the area last year.
“The reserve would likely not have to actually be used because the city will likely have a surplus larger than that at the end of June,” Tuttle said in the budget proposal report.
While there was no recommended change in tax rates or general tax increase, the sewer and water rate was recommended to increase by 2.5 percent.
Due to a decline in the real estate market, the personal property tax revenue is set to decrease by 2.7 percent.
A 2.3 percent decrease in the utility budget is also expected in the upcoming year.