Thursday, July 18, 2024

City Agencies to Present Budget Requests to Council Today

City Council hosted its first regular meeting in the new Stryker Center on Thursday. (City of Williamsburg)
City Council hosted its first regular meeting in the new Stryker Center on Thursday. (City of Williamsburg)

Four area agencies will present their budget requests for Fiscal 2017 to the Williamsburg City Council this afternoon.

The meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. today at the Stryker Center, located at 412 N. Boundary St.

Representatives from the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, the Department of Housing and Human Services and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will give presentations.

The Alliance is expected to request $800,000 from the city, $50,000 more than it received last year, according to its Jan. 20 funding request.

In fiscal 2016, the Alliance requested $900,000 – an increase of $250,000 from the fiscal 2015 funding. While former City Manager Jack Tuttle had recommended staying at $650,000 for fiscal 2016, the city ultimately allocated $750,000 to the Alliance, an increase of 15.38 percent.

The Alliance attests the investment has been worth the expense: According to the November 2015 tourism metric scorecard for the City of Williamsburg, there has been a 3.3 percent increase in number of hotel room night demand, 7.9 percent increase in room sales tax, a 5.4 percent increase in meals tax and a 2.9 percent increase in retail sales tax from 2014 through 2015.

Of the $800,000 requested, GWCTA intends to spend $405,000 total on spring, fall and Christmas holiday marketing and $165,000 on leisure travel marketing, among other expenses.

The Williamsburg Area Arts Commission is expected to seek $75,000 from the city to help it respond to more than 30 requests for grant funding from local arts organizations. The funding request states WAAC received 37 requests totaling $312,450, a 27 percent increase from the 2015-16 funding year.

The city’s Department of Housing and Human Services is expected to ask for $423,313 to fulfill funding requests from several Greater Williamsburg nonprofits. This is an increase of $6,881 from what Human Services received in fiscal 2016.

The division received new requests from Bacon Street, Housing Partnerships, United Way of Greater Williamsburg, Virginia Peninsula Food Bank and Williamsburg Meals on Wheels totaling $31,500, but did not recommend the city fund any of the requests, according to the department’s Feb. 17 partner agency applications worksheet.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is expected to request $1.3 million in funding from the city, the same amount it received in the previous three fiscal years. The request would go toward 14 percent of the foundation’s marketing budget for 2016, according to the foundation’s request letter.

Residents are encouraged to attend but will not have an opportunity to give public comment. Public hearings on the budget will be held during future City Council meetings. Additionally, residents can offer feedback via the city’s communication portal, Speak Up Williamsburg.

City Manager Marvin Collins is expected to release his budget proposal Friday.

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