Far from being cut to the marrow, or even trimmed to the bone, a fundamental review of Albemarle County’s 2012-2013 proposed budget reveals a document laden with political lard, fat handouts, and gratuitous, meaty spending proposals.

Following an exposé chronicling Charlottesville City’s profligate misspending, Albemarle County is the target of the “red pen 2” report—suggestions that if followed would save County taxpayers more than $14M this year alone. While not exhaustive, these first-round recommendations ultimately could result in a real estate tax rate reduction of .09, dropping the proposed rate per $100 of assessed value from .762 to .672.

While Albemarle County has responded to “the new economic reality” with significantly more verity than has Charlottesville City, there is much work to be done on the county budget and the appurtenant—and largely staff-driven— budgeting process. Unfortunately, as is the case in Charlottesville, elected officials are reluctant to suggest or even support commonsense proposals to reign-in expenditures. The concept of limited government is lost amongst grandiose, big-government visions and the accompanying community accolades often received by elected benefactors of taxpayer funds. Palatial public buildings, overly compensated government employees (salary and benefits), and handouts to politically favored “charities” show great opportunity for spending reform in Albemarle County.

The savings set forth and the resulting rate-drop could net the average Albemarle County homeowner $251 per year in reduced real estate taxation and at the same time deposit an additional $14M into the local economy. In reality, such changes are practically inconceivable given the lack of courage, foresight, and leadership shown in previous spending decisions ordained by Albemarle County’s elected and appointed officials.

(H/T to Steven Latimer for providing the red pen, and to Carole Thorpe for covering Albemarle County’s $36 paper budget fee.)

Review the Righteous Red Pen 2 Budget Analysis and Proposed Savings for Albemarle County:

Department Item Budgeted $ Reduction Balance
General Budget Set-aside $1,200,380 $1,200,380 $-
Schools Technology spending $2,602,113 $1,301,000 $1,301,113
Board of Supervisors Salary/Benefit adjustment $270,355 $27,036 $243,319
County Executive Salary/Benefit adjustment $940,403 $94,040 $846,363
County Executive Business partnerships $320,087 $64,017 $256,070
Human Resources Salary/Benefit adjustment $198,518 $19,852 $178,666
County Attorney Salary/Benefit adjustment $918,733 $91,873 $826,860
Finance Dept. Salary/Benefit adjustment $4,035,216 $403,521 $3,631,695
Management/Budget Salary/Benefit adjustment $283,859 $28,386 $255,473
Info. Technology Salary/Benefit adjustment $1,883,505 $188,351 $1,695,154
Registrar Salary/Benefit adjustment $336,115 $33,612 $302,503
General Services Salary/Benefit adjustment $1,373,585 $137,359 $1,236,226
General Services Environmental Management $107,330 $35,419 $71,911
Facilites Development Salary/Benefit adjustment $862,419 $86,242 $776,177
Public Works RSWA non-sustaining $350,000 $262,500 $87,500
Social Services Salary/Benefit adjustment $7,273,948 $727,395 $6,546,553
Bright Stars Salary/Benefit adjustment $1,082,423 $108,242 $974,181
Bright Stars Program expenditure adj. $770,237 $154,047 $616,190
Human Dev. Cont. ASG $3,600 $3,600 $-
Human Dev. Cont. ARC $8,500 $8,500 $-
Human Dev. Cont. Boys & Girls Club $12,400 $12,400 $-
Human Dev. Cont. Latino Lay Health $3,900 $3,900 $-
Human Dev. Cont. CYFS $73,500 $36,750 $36,750
Human Dev. Cont. CCF $62,032 $31,016 $31,016
Human Dev. Cont. Computers 4 Kids $13,100 $13,100 $-
Human Dev. Cont. JABA $302,796 $75,699 $227,097
Human Dev. Cont. CHIP $301,500 $150,750 $150,750
Human Dev. Cont. Leagal Aid $36,200 $36,200 $-
Human Dev. Cont. Madison House $9,900 $9,900 $-
Human Dev. Cont. Music Resource Center $4,300 $4,300 $-
Human Dev. Cont. PVCC $22,750 $22,750 $-
Human Dev. Cont. Piedmont Workforce $13,800 $13,800 $-
Human Dev. Cont. SARA $20,000 $5,000 $15,000
Human Dev. Cont. SHE $84,500 $21,125 $63,375
Human Dev. Cont. Targeted Tax Relief $1,000,000 $200,000 $800,000
Human Dev. Cont. United Way $117,100 $117,100 $-
Human Dev. Cont. TJ Health Dist. $561,771 $84,266 $477,505
Parks & Rec. Salary/Benefit adjustment $1,533,143 $153,314 $1,379,829
Cultural Cont. CACVB $626,871 $313,436 $313,435
Cultural Cont. Ashlawn Opera $3,800 $3,800 $-
Cultural Cont. Literacy Volunteers $19,000 $19,000 $-
Cultural Cont. Municipal Band $8,300 $8,300 $-
Cultural Cont. Pied. Arts Council $5,000 $5,000 $-
Cultural Cont. Discovery Museum $5,000 $5,000 $-
Comm. Develop. Salary/Benefit adjustment $3,739,494 $373,949 $3,365,545
Comm. Develop. Program expenditure adj. $3,958,407 $197,920 $3,760,487
Housing Program expenditure adj. $179,974 $89,987 $89,987
Agency Cont. AHIP $400,000 $200,000 $200,000
Agency Cont. SBDC $7,880 $7,880 $-
Agency Cont. MACAA $106,000 $53,000 $53,000
Agency Cont. PHA $34,500 $34,500 $-
Agency Cont. Stream Watch $10,380 $10,380 $-
Agency Cont. TJPDC $118,972 $59,486 $59,486
Agency Cont. TJ Soil and Water $99,376 $49,688 $49,688
Agency Cont. VA Coop. Ext. $168,819 $42,205 $126,614
Transfers Schools Increase $2,212,466 $1,106,233 $1,106,233
Funds Salary Reserve $74,250 $37,125 $37,125
Funds Perf. Recognition $150,000 $75,000 $75,000
Funds Early Retirement $691,385 $172,846 $518,539
Funds Contingency Reserve $250,000 $125,000 $125,000
Funds Econ. Dev. $250,000 $125,000 $125,000
Capital Tourism $30,000 $15,000 $15,000
Capital Crozet Library $6,558,500 $3,279,250 $3,279,250
Capital Court Square Maint. $241,851 $120,925 $120,926
Capital Old Jail Maintenance $19,125 $9,563 $9,562
Capital Firearms Range $1,007,123 $503,562 $503,561
Capital School Maint. $4,309,823 $1,077,455 $3,232,368
Total Savings $14,087,232




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Rob Schilling is founder of the multi-award-winning Schilling Show Blog and News, proprietor of Schilling Show Media; host of both the Schilling Show Unleashed Podcast and WINA's The Schilling Show heard weekdays at noon; husband; father; worship leader, Christian recording artist and Community Watchdog.


  1. Three comments on this morning’s discussion of this topic:

    Rob, you knock the County for not responding to your budget proposals, but they deserve no response because you haven’t even tried to make an argument for a single one of them. They know your ideology, and you know theirs. It’s as ridiculous to think that they should just capitulate to yours as it is to think you should just capitulate to theirs. If you want to be taken seriously, make an argument on the specifics.

    You whine that it’s “impossible” to compare PDFs on the disk the City gave you. Never mind that it’s merely inconvenient on the disk. Here’s what you do next time – save the PDFs to your computer, open them up individually, and flip back and forth that way. Computer Skills 101. I thought conservatives were supposed to be self-reliant.

    Finally, your contention that local budgets are literally unconstitutional because they’re contrary to the spirit of the Constitution (as you view it – plenty of legal scholars disagree) is worthy of Christine O’Donnell. It’s just plain wacko, and it’s sadly typical of so many on the Christian Right, of otherwise intelligent people who become so unhinged by their hatred not just for liberalism but for liberal thinkers and politicians themselves (think of the time you’ve called your opponents “disgusting”) that they simply can’t think straight.

  2. Dump the firearms range. Totally unnecessary. They can use the Rivanna Range anytime they want, but claim that scheduling is a problem…..that is BS, unless the scheduling issue is worth $1MM+…………

  3. The problem is that the one’s of us on a fixed income due to disability. Our money become a little less each and everyday. When look at budget, how much does government really need? Do we need a friearms range? Department Corrections has excellent firearms range that DOC used and state police use and couple of police department. The ecuse is scheduling,there alway seem to be excuse given to us by government.

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