BLACKSBURG — The town is proposing a total budget of $90.8 million for 2020-21, which would represent a marginal annual increase of under 1%.
The proposal calls for no increase to the town’s real estate tax rate of 26 cents per $100 of assessed value.
It includes $39.9 million for the general fund that pays for items such as police and parks and recreation.
When not counting debt service and capital projects, the proposed budget is a 5.3% increase from the current year’s budget.
While Blacksburg isn’t calling for a tax increase, its proposed budget does call for small water and sewer rate increases that would raise the average monthly utility bill by $1.33.
Town ratepayers currently pay a total monthly fixed charge of $5.90 for water and sewer. They then pay $7.20 per 1,000 gallons for water and $6.02 per 1,000 gallons for sewer.
In addition, Blacksburg ratepayers pay $25.60 a month for waste and recycling.
The proposed utility rate increases are, in part, tied to the renovation of the NRV Regional Water Authority’s treatment plant, a facility that serves Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Christiansburg and Virginia Tech.
The town’s proposed budget also includes the debt funding for a new police station and parking garage, each to be located on the site of the old Blacksburg Middle School.
The police station and parking garage, which together will form a complex, are just two of the pieces in the long-awaited redevelopment of the old middle school site.
The town plans to put about $16 million toward the new police station and $9.1 million toward the parking structure.
For the parking structure, the town will pay for the project with a variety of new tax revenue from the private developments that will be built on the old middle school site. One of those revenue streams will come from a special services district that will require the site’s private property owners to pay an additional real estate tax rate of 20 cents.
All Blacksburg property owners currently pay a 26-cent tax rate, which translates to an annual property tax bill of $260 for a home assessed at $100,000.
Additionally, the town is turning to the old middle school site’s owner, Midtown Redevelopment Partners, to provide another estimated $2 million for the garage. The town has turned to that option for that piece of funding due to the recent expectation that the structure will need to be taller than initially planned.
Construction on the old middle school site is expected to start at some point in the fall, Town Manager Marc Verniel said.
“We should see that project coming along,” he said.
Another initiative Blacksburg plans to test out in the next fiscal year is a pilot project that will send out smaller buses into a few town neighborhoods not currently served by Blacksburg Transit.
The town council set a budget public hearing for April 14.