A pandemic and protests have ramped up interest in city budgeting. Here’s The Citizen’s guide to Hburg’s spending
Continue with the plan for building a second high school? Reduce funding for the police department? The combination of the pandemic’s economic ripple effects and calls for social change out of this summer’s protests have sparked questions and deep-seated opinions about how the city of Harrisonburg spends its money. Residents have been bringing up budget issues in city council meetings, at rallies for racial justice and on social media.
Concern about the spread of COVID-19 in area poultry plants came to the forefront of Tuesday’s Harrisonburg City Council meeting, as 12 city residents representing a variety of grassroots organizations petitioned the council to ask Gov. Ralph Northam to dial back reopening of businesses in order to protect workers.
City takes next step in considering golf course’s future; Schools look to ‘creative’ solutions for summer and fall classes
After years of debate over whether the city should be subsidizing a golf course, the Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday began entertaining different options to potentially scale back Heritage Oaks golf course’s operations and asked city staff to hire a consultant to help in making a final decision.
As pandemic’s fiscal impact becomes painfully clear, city announces layoffs and other cost-saving measures
By March 13, when the health department announced Harrisonburg’s first positive test for COVID-19 and local schools were on a one-day closure that soon extended through the academic year, it was clear that the pandemic’s effects on public health and the economy would be dramatic. On Monday, city staff put some first numbers to that bleak picture in a late-afternoon press release: local tax revenue will fall an estimated $4 million short of projections for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Harrisonburg’s new high school will not open by fall 2022 as planned. In light of local revenue lost because of the pandemic, the Harrisonburg School Board voted unanimously in a virtual meeting Tuesday to suspend the project until the city attains the necessary funding.
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in the Central Shenandoah Health District, the Harrisonburg City Council is considering emergency measures to offer relief to citizens and businesses by waiving certain late fees.
Possibly delaying the new high school by a year hints at the city’s tough financial decisions to come
Harrisonburg leaders are looking at a starkly different financial reality now than they were less than four months ago when the city council approved the $100 million needed to build and open a second high school, which has the Harrisonburg School Board considering a one-year delay of its construction.
And so it begins. Hopes for and speculation about the future abound, as does list-making for a fresh year. As we set off for the next 12 months, get ready for plenty of “20/20 vision” references. In that spirit, here are 20 questions (in no particular order) for 2020 that address issues that will likely shape Harrisonburg for the next decade and beyond.