Albemarle County supervisors want to prioritize transportation funding in the next five-year Capital Improvement Program.
The Board of Supervisors met Wednesday for a work session to discuss and prioritize possible government capital projects for the upcoming fiscal year 2021-2025 CIP.
After a presentation of 19 projects and programs that were submitted for the CIP, the supervisors did a prioritization exercise with dot stickers. Putting money toward transportation projects, as a local match or for preliminary design work, received the most points in the sticker activity.
“We do have buckets we can seek after, but if we don’t put money in the bucket, we’re not going to get any back,” Supervisor Ann H. Mallek said.
In May, supervisors and the county School Board began a new process for developing the CIP. Most officials supported an additional $61 million in capital projects over the next seven years, which could require an estimated 4.5- to 6-cent increase to the real estate tax rate over that time period.
Lori Allshouse, the county’s director of management and budget, said the upcoming five-year CIP could include about $55 million for additional capital projects based on the prior support.
County Executive Jeff Richardson said he has spoken with the county’s chief financial officer, Bill Letteri, and the possible increase to the tax rate is just an approximation, and that the amount could increase or decrease.
“I think if Bill were at the podium, he would caution us on taking that in concrete, because there are things that could happen to move it in either direction, and I don’t want this to sway the board unduly,” Richardson said.
Community members around the county have more recently been expressing concerns about traffic issues when it comes to possible new development in the Rio Road area and near the gated community Glenmore, as well as the redevelopment of Southwood Mobile Home Park.
Additional projects were added to the county’s transportation priority list earlier this month based on some of those concerns.
Other high priorities on Wednesday included putting funding toward economic development public-private partnerships, Climate Action Plan implementation and greenways and blueways projects, which include Brook Hill River Park, Milton Road boat launch upgrades and a Biscuit Run connector trail.
Funding for the first phase of a fire rescue training center, the purchase of a street sweeper, Biscuit Run Park and the implementation of the Broadway Blueprint economic revitalization plan received the lowest priority rankings.
Another joint work session with the School Board regarding the CIP is planned for September 2019.