Changes to City Budget Proposal Boosts Contribution to Alliance

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Williamsburg Municipal Building
Williamsburg Municipal Building

Adjustments to the City of Williamsburg’s proposed budget would provide additional support for several local organizations, including an extra $100,000 for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance.

The Williamsburg City Council is poised to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, with slight modifications from the document that was proposed in March.

The adjustments would increase the city’s proposed operating budget from just under to slightly over $34.5 million, for a total budget of $56.4 million.

Under the latest proposal, the Alliance would receive an additional $100,000 in city funds, boosting its total appropriation to $750,000. The Alliance had initially requested $900,000 in city support to fund tourism programming in the Williamsburg area.

In a March meeting with the City Council Alliance President and CEO Karen Riordan said the city funds would be used to support additional tourism programming in the so-called “shoulder months” in the fall and spring, especially Christmas-themed holiday tourism.

At a work session Monday, City Council members expressed interest in meeting with Riordan to discuss the Alliance’s plans for the additional $100,000 it will allocate to the group, but did not mention specific programming they would like to see.

The latest draft of the budget also includes additional spending for local arts and cultural organizations.

The Williamsburg Area Arts Commission would get an additional appropriation of $10,000, to be directed toward programming with the Virginia Symphony, Williamsburg Choral Guild and the Global Film Festival.

The Williamsburg Regional Library would receive an extra $3,831 from the city under the latest budget proposal.

The city’s contribution to Williamsburg-James City County Schools’s operating budget will decrease, given James City County’s smaller-than-requested appropriation for the school division. Under the joint contract that governs WJCC schools, 90.5 percent of the division’s operational costs are allocated to James City County, with the remaining 9.5 percent coming from the city.

The initial draft of the city’s budget fully funded WJCC’s request for an additional $1.8 million in local support. The budget adopted by the James City County Board of Supervisors in April did not fully fund the request, allowing the city to decrease its contribution to the schools by more than $108,000 to align with the school contract’s funding formula.

Combined with a $5,000 reimbursement from James City County for Arts Commission programming and updated projections for sales tax revenues, the city’s proposed general fund revenues and expenditure totals would equal each other at $34,503,569.

Most of Williamsburg’s revenue is derived from property and other local taxes — more than $27 million. The rest comes from licenses and fees, fines, service charges and other streams.

The largest single expenditure — $9.8 million — goes toward public safety, which includes police and fire services. The other major expenditure is the more than $8 million for WJCC Schools.

The City Council is scheduled to adopt its fiscal year 2016 budget at its May 14 meeting.

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