Charlottesville City Council, 2018-2019
The Charlottesville City Council, 2018-2019, is the current governing body of the City of Charlottesville. The City Council is composed of five members, including the Mayor. Each member is elected at-large, by voters to four-year, staggered terms, with elections held every two years.
The City of Charlottesville operates under the Council-Manager form of government as granted by the Code of Virginia and the City Charter. From within council, by simple majority vote, the president (mayor) and the vice-president (vice-mayor) of the council are elected at the first regular meeting of the new term. The City Manager, among the City Officers appointed by the Council, acts as the chief executive officer. The City Manager is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as carrying out policy decisions made by the City Council.
Wes Bellamy, (D) City Councilmember Since January 2016, Next Election on November 5, 2019
Kathy Galvin, (D) City Councilmember Since 2012, Next Election on November 5, 2019
Heather Hill, (D) City Councilmember Since January 2018, Vice-Mayor Since January 2018, Next Election in 2021
Mike Signer, (D) City Councilmember Since January 2016, Next Election November 5, 2019
Nikuyah Walker, (I) City Councilmember Since January 2018, Mayor Since January 2018, Next Election in 2021
- 1 Council's Vision Statement
- 2 City population
- 3 Elections
- 4 City Council Organizational Meeting, January 1, 2018
- 5 Compensation
- 6 Council travel and spending
- 7 Term of office
- 8 Rules and Procedures
- 9 City Officers
- 10 City Council Regular Meetings
- 11 Phone into meetings
- 12 City Council Work Sessions
- 13 "Our Town" meetings
- 14 History of City Charters and Amendments
- 15 References
- 16 External Links
Council's Vision Statement
2025 Charlottesville: A Great Place to Live for All of Our Citizens. A leader in innovation, environmental sustainability, and social and economic justice, and healthy race relations; Flexible and progressive in anticipating and responding to the needs of our citizens; Cultural and creative capital of Central Virginia; United community that treasures diversity.
The total population reported in the City of Charlottesville for 2017-2018 was 43,475 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts). The area within the city limits is 10.27 square miles.
Two open council seats (previously held by Kristin Szakos and Bob Fenwick) were up at the last municipal election held on November 7, 2017; two new members were chosen by the city voters - Nikuyah Walker and Heather Hill; See also: 2017 election. The November 5, 2019 municipal election will include three open seats on the city council. (IncumbentKathy Galvin, Mike Signer and Wes Bellamy each declined to seek re-election.) See also 2019 election.
City Council Organizational Meeting, January 1, 2018
Council organizational meetings are held every two years on January 1st after the municipal election. At the first meeting of the 2018-2019 City Council term, the council elected Nikuyah Walker as mayor, and Heather Hill as vice-mayor.  City Council committee assignments were also determined at this organizational meeting. (see below)
- Councilors make $18,000 a year and the mayor makes $20,000 a year; the maximum range allowed under state guidelines.
- On motion by Wes Bellamy, seconded by Kathy Galvin, Council voted 3-2 on December 3, 2019 to authorize that a request be made of state legislators to amend the City Charter to allow City Council to set its own compensation and move the municipal elections from May to November. (Since 2006, municipal elections have been held the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of odd-numbered years.)
- On January 3, 2019, Delegate David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville), said that he would not introduce the changes in the upcoming General Assembly session, to start on January 9, 2019. “Introducing a charter that would allow the City Council to raise their salaries to an untapped amount is a non-starter in the General Assembly,” Toscano said.
Reimbursement of Expenses
Council travel and spending
City-issued credit cards
Mayor Nikuyah Walker and Councilors Mike Signer, Wes Bellamy and Kathy Galvin have city-issued credit cards. Councilor Heather Hill had a card, but the account was closed in December 2018; she had not used it during her tenure. The Daily Progress obtained statements for the City Council and council staff credit cards, from June 28, 2017, through June 27, 2019. Based on documents obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), city-issued credit cards statements indicate councilors spent a combined $29,876.
At their July 31, 2019 retreat, councilors directed Charlottesville City Manager Tarron Richardson to study other localities and determine common budgets for council travel and spending. The consensus at the meeting was to set a limit of about $5,000 a month, with a slightly higher cap for the mayor. Richardson plans to institute a stricter credit card policy for city employees. Whenever the Charlottesville’s employee policy and procedures manual is updated, Richarsdon plans to show the revised policy to the City Council and recommend the panel adopt it for councilors. The policy would move Charlottesville from a locality with one of the highest credit card spending limits in the state to one of the lowest.
Term of office
The terms of Council members are staggered so that three are elected in one year and two are elected two years later. There are no limits to the consecutive terms in office. The president (mayor) and vice-president (vice-mayor) of the council each serve for 2-years in that capacity.
Adopted Budget for FY 2019
- FY 2019 City Budget (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019): As adopted by the City Council, the total General Fund Budget of $179,725,535 represents a 4.70% increase over FY 2018.
Major Highlights of the FY 2019 Budget
- $3.4 million budgeted in the CIP for the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund, keeping the commitment to double the fund from FY 2017 levels, totaling $17.0 million in the 5-year plan.
- $106,400 budgeted for the Residents on the Job Program, managed by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA). This program intended to support low-income residents in apprenticeships to rehabilitate 23 public housing units and train residents for jobs in the construction field.
- City/County Revenue Sharing decreasing by $159,125.
- City Council established a fee schedule for Emergency Medical Services vehicle transport services. FY 2019 is the first full year of this program, and it is expected to generate $1.4 million in revenue.
- $500,000 is included in the Budget for the City Council Strategic Initiatives Fund for the African American Heritage Center at the Jefferson School.
- $100,000 to cover the City Council Strategic Initiatives Fund will be used to fund a pilot Participatory Budgeting initiative.
- $122,000 is budgeted for an Assistant City Attorney to provide support for the legal representation of City departments, commissions and elected officials.
- At a cost of approximately $115,000 the living wage will increase from $14.40 to $15.00 an hour for City employees, effective July 1, 2019.
Adopted Budget for FY 2020
- On Monday, April 8, 2019, City Council approved the 2020 General Fund Budget of $188,863,920 - represents a 5.08% increase over FY 2019.
City Schools Budget
Included in the City Council's Adopted Budget for FY 2019-2020, City Schools will receive a local contribution of $57,366,623. Fiscal Year 2018 Per Pupil Expenditures (Local funds) $12,044, 6th highest in the state. Superintendent's Annual Report 2017-2018, Table 15.
Major Highlights of the FY 2020 Budget
- Effective July 1, 2019, the Meals Tax rate increased from 5% to 6%; the Transient Occupancy Tax (Lodging) rate increased from 7% to 8%.
- Under the Revenue Sharing Agreement of May 24, 1982, the sum of $14,199,607 will be received to the General Fund from the County of Albemarle.
Rules and Procedures
At the conclusion of their City Council annual retreat, held in February 2018, the Council revised the Rules and Procedures for conducting council meetings in an effort "to help City Council conduct its affairs in a timely and efficient manner, while encouraging a robust and meaningful dialogue with members of the community." The revised Council Meeting Procedures was passed by Council on February 5, 2018. Council last made major changes to its meeting procedures in February 2016, when an effort was made to make meetings more formal.
Among the officers and clerks who have served at the pleasure of the 2018-2019 Council Council:
The City Manager, appointed by the City Council, acts as the City’s Chief Executive Officer. The City Council delegates broad administrative power to the City Manager subject to its review. Qualifications, powers and duties of the City Manager are provided for in the City Charter.
- Tarron Richardson, (as of May 13, 2019)
- Mike Murphy, interim (July 31, 2018 to May 13, 2019)
- Maurice Jones (December 6, 2010 to July 31, 2018)
- Kyna Thomas (as of January 28, 2019)
- Brian Wheeler, interim (October 5, 2018 to January 28, 2018)
- Brian Wheeler, acting (September 21, 2018 to October 5, 2018)
- Paige Rice (May 1, 2010 to October 5, 2018)
The Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer assists the City Manager in the operational and financial aspects of all City functions and coordinates interdepartmental activities.
- Chris Cullinan, (as of December 1, 2014)
- John C. Blair (as of August 15, 2018)
- Lisa Robertson, Interim (January 2018 to August 15, 2018)
- Craig Brown (2001 to January 2018)
School Board Members
The city has an elected at-large school board. Prior to 2006, members of the Charlottesville City School Board were appointed by the City Council.
Appointment of advisory boards, committees and commissions
refer to Main Article: List of Boards and Commissions
City Council Standing Committee assignments (2018 – 2019)
|Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail Authority ||2nd Thursday of every other month at 12:30 p.m.||Bellamy|
|Audit Committee (annually)||as needed||Signer|
|Audit Committee (annually)||as needed||Hill|
|Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) Advisory Board ||2nd Tuesday, 8:30am-10am||Walker|
|Charlottesville Community Scholarship Program ||3rd Wednesday, 8-9am||Bellamy|
|Greater Charlottesville Development Corporation (GCADC)||tbd||Bellamy|
|Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) ||4th Monday, 6:00pm||Bellamy|
|Darden Towe Park Board||annually in September / as needed||Signer|
|Darden Towe Park Board||annually in September / as needed||Hill|
|Historic Resources Committee||2nd Mondays, 11am-12pm, NDS Conf. Room||Hill |
|Housing Advisory Committee ||Every 3rd Wednesday, 12pm||Hill|
|Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA)||4th Monday, noon||Hill |
|Jefferson Area Community Criminal Justice Board ||2nd Monday of every other month (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep & Nov) at 5:00 p.m. ||Walker|
|LEAP Advisory Board||tbd||Signer|
|Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board||3rd Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m ||Galvin|
|Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board||3rd Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m ||Signer|
|Mobilization for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP)||twice annually, Tuesday 8:30-10am||Walker|
|Piedmont Housing Alliance – Friendship Court Committee ||as needed (generally meets on the fourth Thursday of every month) ||Galvin |
|Piedmont Workforce Network (PWN) Council||Quarterly, time varies||Walker|
|Planning and Coordination Council (PACC) (typically Mayor & Vice Mayor)||Quarterly, 3rd Thursday of the month (Feb, May, Aug, & Nov) at 2:00 p.m. ||Walker|
|Planning and Coordination Council (PACC) (typically Mayor & Vice Mayor)||Quarterly, 3rd Thursday of the month (Feb, May, Aug, & Nov) at 2:00 p.m. ||Hill|
|Retirement Commission||4th Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m. ||Hill|
|Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC) ||1st Tuesday, 11:30am-12:30pm (FY19 Quarterly) ||Signer|
|Rivanna Solid Waste Authority (RSWA) ||4th Monday of every month at 2pm ||Galvin |
|Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA)||4th Tuesday of every month at 2:15pm (RWSA) ||Galvin |
|Hydraulic Planning Advisory Panel (typically Mayor) ||2nd/4th Thursday, 2-4pm||Galvin |
|School Capital Projects||as needed||Bellamy|
|School Capital Projects||as needed||Walker|
|Social Services Advisory Board ||4th Monday of every month at 12:00 p.m.||Walker|
|Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission ||1st Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m.||Signer|
|Virginia First Cities||1st Friday, Quarterly (all day)||Galvin (Bellamy, alt)|
City Council Regular Meetings
Regular council meetings are held in the City Hall, Council Chambers, on the first and third Monday of each month starting at 6:30 p.m., except on holidays or if decided by special resolution. Meetings are open to the public and televised on Cable Channel 10, as well as streamed online.
|City Council Regular Meetings in 2018||Mtg. Start||Mtg. End||Duration/hrs.|
|January 2, 2018||6:00 PM||11:45 PM||5:45|
|January 16, 2018||6:00 PM||9:49 PM||3:49|
|February 5, 2018||6:30 PM||12:37 AM||6:07|
|February 20, 2018||6:30 PM||12:25 AM||5:55|
|March 5, 2018||6:30 PM||10:39 PM||4:09|
|March 19, 2018||6:30 PM||12:33 AM||6:03|
|April 2, 2018||6:30 PM||12:15 AM||5:45|
|April 16, 2018||6:30 PM||1:05 AM||6:35|
|May 7, 2018||6:30 PM||9:00 PM||2:30|
|May 21, 2018||6:30 PM||12:27 AM||5:57|
|June 4, 2018||6:30 PM||10:19 PM||3:49|
|June 18, 2018||6:30 PM||11:03 PM||4:33|
|July 2, 2018||6:30 PM||12:20 AM||5:50|
|July 16, 2018||6:30 PM||12:02 AM||5:32|
|August 6, 2018||6:30 PM||1:13 AM||6:43|
|August 20, 2018||6:30 PM||12:08 AM||5:38|
|September 3, 2018||6:30 PM||10:10 PM||3:40|
|September 17, 2018||6:30 PM||9:17 PM||2:47|
|October 1, 2018||6:30 PM||12:35 AM||6:05|
|October 15, 2018||6:30 PM||11:38 PM||5:08|
|November 5, 2018||6:30 PM||10:30 PM||4:00|
|November 19, 2018||6:32 PM||12:02 AM||5:30|
|December 3, 2018||6:30 PM||11:26 PM||4:56|
|December 17, 2018||6:31 PM||11:46 PM||5:15|
- The council adopted a revised Council Meeting Procedures. Beginning on February 5, 2018, the starting time of the City Council's regular meeting changed from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
|City Council Meeting Schedule 2019|
|January 7, 2019||April 1, 2019||July 1, 2019||October 7, 2019|
|Tuesday, January 22, 2019||April 15, 2019||July 15, 2019 – no meeting *||October 21, 2019|
|February 4, 2019||May 6, 2019||August 5, 2019||November 4, 2019|
|Tuesday, February 19, 2019||May 20, 2019||August 19, 2019||November 18, 2019|
|March 4, 2019||June 3, 2019||Tuesday, September 3, 2019||December 2, 2019|
|March 18, 2019||June 17, 2019||September 16, 2019||December 16, 2019|
- Italics indicate an adjusted date due to a holiday
- Summer break - Council not meeting*
Phone into meetings
Matters by the Public
Under the Rules and Procedures for conducting council meetings two opportunities are to be afforded for members of the public to address Council as outlined in the Charlottesville City Council Meeting Procedures Passed by Council on February 5, 2018: One Matters by the Public session will be offered early in the meeting, which shall be called Community Matters (formerly Matters by the Public) (Limited to 16 speakers, maximum). A second Matters by the Public session will be offered as the final item on a regular meeting agenda. The purpose of Matters by the Public is to offer individuals an opportunity to state a position, provide information to City Council, comment on the services, policies and affairs of the City, or present a matter that, in the speaker’s opinion, deserves the attention of City Council. Speakers may speak for a maximum of three minutes and are requested to begin by identifying their name and address.
Community Matters, January 2, 2018
See also 2018 COUNCIL MINUTES
|"Community Matters" public comments of January 2, 2018|
|1||Mr. Jones read rules for Matters by the Public.|
|2||Martin Killian said he opposes the plan for the Lambeth Field softball field. He cited noise, lighting levels after 9:00 p.m., and crowd volume as reasons for his objection. He asked Council to direct Mr. Ikefuna to send a letter of support to the Board of Visitors to postpone the decision due to the protests of the students and the neighbors living in adjacent neighborhoods.|
|3||Mary Carey said she has a petition regarding the naming of Emancipation Park. She said she is bringing the petition to the City Manager's office next week. She said she wants the name Emancipation Park to be removed. She said she gave councilmember Wes Bellamy a copy of the petition last November.|
|4||Virginia Daugherty said she wants to see the City run in a productive and effective way. Council meetings need to settle down so the Council can get something done. She said our next mayor should be Ms. Galvin because of her experience. She asked Council to support the downtown businesses' request to delay reinstating the parking meters.|
|5||Blair Williamson (County resident), said she owns two businesses in Charlottesville, including a knitting shop on the Downtown Mall. She asked for beautification for the downtown area and a delay of the parking meter program restart.|
|6||Michael Payne: This is a new year, and we need to get to the root of structural inequality in the City, not cater to businesses and corporate interests. He recommended structural changes to the City and said participants will be involved in all City meetings and will be watching closely.|
|7||Genevieve Keller said she is alarmed by the abusive situations that occur in Council Chambers. She called for mutual respect for all in the City. She encouraged a wide range of opportunities for public interactions. She asked for support for Ms. Galvin for mayor and outlined her reasoning.|
|8||Dave Ghamandi (County resident), said “White men can’t preach civility when we live in a settler colony, on land where they exterminated the indigenous population and enslaved millions of blacks.” He said he is against neo-liberal trickle-down economic] policies and trickle-down housing policies. He asked for a recovery package for Hardy Drive, not the Downtown Mall or Main Street and called for a socialist future. Ghamandi’s words received snaps, claps and shouts of support from the audience.|
|9||Anne Hemenway requested that Kathy Galvin be considered for mayor. She called for real and permanent change, which can be slow and tedious. She called for Emancipation Park improvements to take place concurrent with improvements to the adjacent Central Library.|
|10||James Hingeley asked for civility at Council meetings. He recounted what happened at the December 18 Council meeting and described an unfair application of the rules. He asked for honor and civility to return to Council meetings.|
|11||Joan Fenton said she has 1,200 signatures from Mudhouse customers asking to eliminate the parking meters. She said the Downtown Mall is an important economic engine for the entire City and asked that the parking meter program be suspended for a year to allow businesses to regain their economic footing.|
|12||Todd Howard, owner of És Café, said parking meters are dangerous for businesses right now. He called for better lighting in the downtown area to provide safety for all. He said the more affordable downtown is, the more diverse it will be.|
|13||Don Gathers said talents are equally distributed, but opportunities to utilize them are not. He called on Council to eliminate the pledge to the flag at the beginning of Council meetings and instead implement a moment of silence. He asked that Council stop the parking meter project. He said City residents should be given priority to speak at Council meetings, followed by County residents, and then residents of surrounding areas. He called for speakers to present identification to prove residency. He called for speaker time to be increased to five minutes. He recommended expenditures, including vouchers for affordable housing and solutions to homelessness. He called for a citizen's advocate office to handle complaints. He asked Council to remove the statues, and fix the permitting process.|
|14||Claire Tourney said she and Clay Tolbert work for a hospitality company and called for the parking meters to be disabled. She said the parking meters are a challenge due to poor communication and create an unsafe environment by forcing workers to park in unsafe locations and walk to and from their place of employment.|
|15||Ludwig Kuttner asked Councilors to work together amongst themselves and also with community members to develop a vision for Charlottesville. He asked Council to focus on execution, and not continue to call for studies. He reflected on the condition of the downtown area when he arrived in 1981 and the transformation since then.|
|16||Councilmember Wes Bellamy asked for a moment of silence in memory of Molly Miller.|
Community Matters, January 16, 2018
See also 2018 COUNCIL MINUTES
|"Community Matters" public comments of January 16, 2018|
|1||Dave Ghamandi (Albemarle County) said people will not be civil when fighting against profit-making, racism and militarism. He said budgets are moral documents, and he called for a massive investment in jobs, housing and peace. He called for an investment in housing controlled by community land trusts.|
|2||Michael Payne said he saw a news story on NBC 29 about Crescent Halls regarding a burst pipe and sewage on the floor. He compared monetary allocations for public housing to funding for other projects throughout the City. He asked Council to consider affordable housing and the needs of vulnerable citizens when developing the budget.|
|3||Jalane Schmidt said she found the transparency of the January 2 Council meeting refreshing, and she encouraged Council to continue with that level of transparency. She said people are being uncivil because they feel the City is being sold out from under them to the highest bidder. People who have been calling for a return to civility have wider access to elected officials than the average member of the community. She asked whose names are on the list for the Council retreat at Morven Farms.|
|4||Don Gathers described the reasons why City Council meetings have recently experienced anarchy, and why he believes it will continue. He said civility is shrouded for the time being and called on Council to listen to all members of the community equally.|
|5||Matthew Slaats (Crozet resident) advocated for participatory budgeting to rebuild trust. He also said the City needs to rethink how the Comprehensive Plan moves forward. He called on Council to create a truly public process, and create a plan that addresses the community's needs.|
|6||Jojo Robertson said there is a problem at Crescent Halls, and she said the Facebook page she started called "Caring for the Cville Community" has been addressing the same issues over the past two and a half years. She said a Council cannot demand respect, but instead has to earn trust. She asked Council to revert to the old rules.|
|7||Paul Long spoke on public transportation. He said City buses should run during the holidays. He called for bus routes to run every 20 minutes to encourage use of public transportation. He said this issue is more important now that Charlottesville is growing.|
|8||Mary Carey said the issue at Crescent Halls is active and needs to be addressed. She recounted a comment during a recent CRHA meeting that she considered offensive.|
|9||Peter Krebs thanked the County for acquiring park land for Vista Run. He described what the event regarding 5th/Ridge/McIntire will cover and encouraged community members to attend.|
|10||Nancy Carpenter thanked Nikuyah Walker for her recent representation on The View. She said she was putting her fist in the air in solidarity with Mary Carey. She called on the City to repair Crescent Halls, and at the least, address major maintenance issues while waiting for a permanent resolution.|
City Council Work Sessions
2018 City Council Work Sessions
2019 City Council Work Sessions
- January 23: Joint Worksession with Charlottesville School Board.
- January 30: Joint Worksession with the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
- January 31: Budget Worksession.
"Our Town" meetings
- The 2009-2010 City Council approved a community initiative called "Our Town Charlottesville" intended to bring town hall style meetings to City neighborhoods so that residents would be encouraged to discuss emerging issues and voice concerns and preferences about their respective communities. 
History of City Charters and Amendments
- In the 1916 election, the Commission Plan was defeated by a margin of 257 to 178. Voters of Charlottesville chose not to adopt the new idea of municipal government known as the Commission-Manager form fast being adopted throughout the different states. (Staunton, Virginia created the council-manager form of government in 1908, which now serves as a standard form of government across the United States.)
- By referendum in the Election held on December 17, 1920, a slim majority of voters voted to request their local member of the General Assembly submit a bill granting the city a new form of government as provided by the 1919 Code of Virginia known as the "Modified Commission Form". The General Assembly approved a new charter for the city on March 24, 1922. This new form of government centralizes legislative authority and responsibility in the elected City Council with administrative authority and responsibility to be held by the City Manager, who was to be appointed by the City Council. The first City Council under this new form of government took office on September 1, 1922 and appointed B. A. Bennett, from Hill City, as City Manager the same day.
- In 2004, the 2004-2005 City Council moved the municipal elections from May to November.. The first November elections was held on November 6, 2007, new members of 2008-2009 City Council took office on January 1, 2008.
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- Web. Walker selected as Charlottesville’s next Mayor after public discussion, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 3, 2018, retrieved March 26, 2019.
- Web. City officials' credit card purchases include gift cards, meals with residents, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Media General, July 21, 2019, retrieved September 2, 2019.
- Web. City officials' credit card purchases include gift cards, meals with residents, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Media General, July 21, 2019, retrieved September 2, 2019.
- Web. Richardson believes his credit card policy could have prevented city, Texas scandals, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Media General, August 31, 2019, retrieved September 2, 2019.
- Web. City Manager's Budget Letter 2018, Office of the City Manager, July 1, 2018
- Web. Packet for March 6, 2019 public interviews of managerial candidates, March 5, 2019, retrieved March 6, 2019.
- https://www.cvilletomorrow.org/articles/council-decides-on-process-for-hiring-city-attorne, Council decides on process for hiring city attorney, Charlottesville Tomorrow, Sean Tubbs, April 14, 2018, May 22, 2019