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Bristol, Virginia Passes Controversial $88 Million Budget, Lowering Trash Fees

Following intense debates and intricate fiscal juggling, the city of Bristol, Virginia has finally settled on a yearly budget. The $88 million budget for the financial year 2024/2025 was released amidst much controversy and concern. The budget was approved by a three to two vote in the city council, with councillors Michael Pollard and Neal Osborne opposing the move.

The Unbalanced Budget

Osborne, voicing his concerns, stated, “This is the first budget that is not structurally balanced.” He goes on to explain that the budget is unbalanced to the extent of about one-and-half million dollars. According to him, the city’s expenses far outweigh the revenue it takes in. He places particular emphasis on the costs of remediation work needed at the Bristol, Virginia landfill and the raises in pay promised to city employees.

“We have increased costs for projects at the landfill, we have employee pay raises, the employees work very hard and they do deserve a pay raise, and we’ve added some positions at the police department,” said Osborne.

Good News for Bristol’s Residents

However, amidst the budgetary concerns, the city’s residents received some good news as well. One noteworthy change in the budget was a significant reduction in trash collection fees. The city’s mayor, Becky Nave, announced, “One of the things is lowering the trash collection fee by $10 — so it is going from $48 to $38.” Citing the reduction in trash collection fees as a response to residents’ complaints, Mayor Nave said, “That was something that the residents had voiced to us, was one of the main concerns, so we worked really closely together on trying to get that rate lowered.”

Delving into the complex process of creating the budget, Osborne suggests, “Doing a budget for a city is always hard work.” He adds, “If you are in local government, you are affecting people the most directly and the most immediately.”

Mayor Nave echoed this sentiment, “We had a limited amount of funds to work with this year,” she said. “We listened and kind of based it off the priorities of what our residents said, one was the trash rate.”

The New Budget Implementation

The new budget and the reduced trash rates are due to come into effect on July 1. However, Bristol’s residents may not see the lowered trash fees on their bills immediately. “It takes a little bit for BVU to get their notices changed,” Mayor Nave informs.

The city of Bristol, facing both budget deficits and a desire to respond to residents’ needs, provides an example of the complex financial decisions made at the local government level. As council members continue to debate the merits and flaws of the budget, it is clear that the discussion around the city’s finances is far from over.

HERE Bristol
Author: HERE Bristol