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City Council to discuss virus aid on Monday

Charlottesville City Council is set to direct its portion of federal coronavirus relief money.

The council will consider amendments to two spending plans that are used as part of the coronavirus relief package during its meeting Monday.

The city received $246,699 in March from the federal government through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant. The money will be allocated through the city’s CDBG program and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission HOME program.

The money is on top of the $419,367 in CDBG funds and $80,594 in HOME funds the city already received from HUD for assistance for housing, community and economic development activities, and assistance for low- and moderate- income persons and special needs populations within the city.

According to federal guidelines, the extra money can be used for buildings and improvements, assistance to businesses and certain public services.

The city’s allocation will be divided into three categories: public services, economic development and administration/planning.

The first two pots of cash will receive $98,679 and the third will receive $49,399.

The city will accept proposals from Monday to May 18. To meet federal guidelines, the money will be distributed by July 30.

Although not listed on the agenda, the council likely will hold a preliminary discussion on the revised budget proposal for fiscal 2021, which starts July 1, during Monday’s meeting ahead of a Wednesday work session.

Earlier this year, City Manager Tarron Richardson proposed a $196.6 million budget plus a $35.3 million Capital Improvement Program and $111 million in other dedicated funds.

Since then, sweeping stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic have brought the economy to a grinding halt. The area has seen 13 deaths and 298 cases of the virus, including 58 cases in the city and 103 in Albemarle County, according to the Thomas Jefferson Health District.

In April, city officials estimated the city would lose at least $8 million in revenue over the current and upcoming fiscal year.

The city is hoping to keep funding at nearly the same level as the adopted fiscal 2020 budget. The revised proposal is $191.2 million, a decrease of $5.4 million. Officials also expect about $3 million in losses in the current fiscal year.

Although other governments are expecting revenue shortfalls of around 5% to 6%, the city’s proposal is only a 2.7% loss of revenue.

The council is operating under a new budget timeline that requires the spending plan to be approved by June 30. A public hearing will be held May 18.

The council’s regular meeting will be held virtually at 6:30 p.m. Monday. A virtual budget work session is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The meeting will be streamed on the city’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Comcast channel 10. Viewers do not need to register in advance.

To register to participate in the meeting, visit charlottesville.gov/zoom.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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