Harrisonburg City Council approves first reading of annual budget Tuesday night

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:01 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg City Council made the first vote on 2022 to 2023 fiscal year budget at Tuesday’s meeting.

Some of the big-ticket items in this year’s budget include a new public works building and new transit buses for the city.

On Tuesday night, the council approved a personal property vehicle tax reduction of $0.35. The personal property vehicle tax, which is currently $3.50 per $100 of accessible value, would decrease to $3.15 per $100 of accessible value, and the vehicle license fee would go away.

The budget must be voted on twice before the end of May per the City’s charter. If approved, the budget goes into effect in July.

Keep in mind, the state has not adopted a budget just yet. Vice-Mayor Sal Romero asked how that would impact the Friendly City’s budget.

“As of right now, the only large ticket item is the legislation focusing on the local grocery tax. [We] have been following that. We’ve been in touch with our legislators, and depending on what the General Assembly ultimately does, we’ll have to amend our FY23 budget and when that happens we’ll come to you all and walk you through that process and make a recommendation,” Interim City Manager Ande Banks said.

City Council also approved an ordinance to increase the salaries of City Council members to $18,000 per year and the mayors to $20,000 per year, but this would not go into effect until 2023. The city’s attorney said those salaries have not been increased since 2004.

While no city residents spoke during public comment on Tuesday, the city has heard from the community beforehand.

”The input we get is very critical in how we decide what services will get funded, what services get decreased, and if there are some changes that we need to make,” Michael Parks, communications director for the city of Harrisonburg said.

He said input from residents is important to City Council when it comes to the budget so they know where they should spend more money and can decrease funds from things that may not be as important to residents.

”As we start to get an idea of what our revenues are going to be looking like what our expenditures have looked like over the last year and beginning to think about what the next fiscal year will be,” Parks said.

A budget, in brief, is available on the city’s website for community members to see a breakdown of all the main expenditures in the budget.

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