I promised I would provide an update on my meetings in Richmond sponsored by the Virginia Municipal League. These sessions were intended to provide an overview of state finances as local governments begin to prepare their budgets for next year.

After spending the morning and part of the afternoon listening to economists and economic trends, I will share what I took away from these meetings and predictions. As almost all presenters said, the crystal ball is very foggy. As you read this, take those words into account!

There is good news and bad news. The good news is that many economic trends point to some small upturn in the economy. This will help state finances.

The bad news from the local level is that those extra revenues will not be shared with localities.

There are many reasons why localities will not benefit right away.

Virginia has borrowed heavily from other funds and neglected many of the state’s responsibilities during the recession. Also, federal stimulus funds were used to plug some of these gaps. The Commonwealth will fill these gaps first, before restoring monies taken from localities.

Hopefully, funding to the localities will slowly be restored, but it will take time. As always, Blacksburg will continue to be prudent with our spending and do our best to deliver the services our citizens expect in the most efficient manner possible.

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