eNews August 20, 2021Friday, August 20, 2021 - 03:54pm
In this issue:
- Governor outlines historic surplus and record reserves; Secretary Flores provides details
- Transportation revenues see the light at the end of the tunnel
- A message about health and safety at the 2021 VML Annual Conference
- Post-conference golf event registration now open!
- Save the date: “Broadband Together” event coming December 1-2
- American Rescue Plan: “Opportunities to Fund Water Infrastructure Priorities” webinar coming in September
- Survey request for cities, counties, and towns under 20,000
- VDEM announces deadlines for BRIC and FMA with Focus on Equitable Mitigation grants
- VAPDC final summer series event on August 24
- ZenCity offers new planning guide for city and county managers
Budget & Economy
Governor outlines historic surplus and record reserves; Secretary Flores provides details
Gov. Ralph Northam delivered good news about Virginia’s Fiscal Year 2021 revenue picture to the General Assembly’s budget and finance committees on Aug. 18 in Richmond.
Northam reported that Virginia ended fiscal year 2021 with a historic $2.6 billion surplus, the largest in the Commonwealth’s history. All major general fund revenue sources exceeded their forecasts; FY2021 general fund resources grew 14.2 percent, far ahead of the official forecast of 2.7 percent growth.
Payroll withholding and sales taxes, which together account for 71 percent of state revenues, grew 6.4 percent in FY2021.
Revenue from personal income taxes was up 4.7 percent, sales tax revenue was up 12.4 percent, and recordation fees were up almost 41 percent.
Revenue from ABC profits increased by 29.4 percent. Local governments by law are due a part of those profits, but the General Assembly carved out the local distribution through language in the Appropriations Act during the Great Recession of 2009.
Northam referenced the factors that helped with a strong revenue performance last fiscal year: the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine, which helped move the state past mitigation measures, the federal recovery funds, and a strong national economy that boosted the stock market.
He harkened back to last August when the expectation was that the pandemic would reduce revenues. That tone shifted in December when economists saw that Virginia was on an upswing with expectations for $1.2 billion in additional revenue. He added that Virginia more than doubled that figure.
While Virginia’s economy performed well overall, Northam acknowledged that a lot of people are still struggling. He thanked legislators for their efforts during the most recent special session to program $4.3 billion in federal American Rescue Act funds into a variety of programs and infrastructure efforts and highlighted the $700 million for broadband access.
Northam ended his comments with optimism tinged with caution about what surprises COVID may still “throw our way” such as the surge from the Delta variant. He added that his budget development would continue to prioritize long-term investments and supporting people as they recover from the pandemic, but it would also be prudent and cautious because of the unknowns of COVID.
Northam’s full remarks can be read here >.
Following the Governor’s remarks, legislators learned the details behind the FY2021 numbers from Secretary of Finance Joe Flores.
Flores explained that the economic impact of COVID-19 did not mirror prior recessions for the following reasons:
- It was a deep recession, but shorter than anticipated.
- High income earners were largely unaffected.
- Both the Stock Market and housing market surged.
Flores also pointed to the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines and federal stimulus funds as putting Virginia on the path to recovery.
While most national and state income variables performed above expectation and Virginia’s personal income and wages/salaries were above the forecast, Flores noted that employment figures stayed below projections.
A strong national economy and surging stock market contributed to higher non-withholding revenues, which accounted for almost half of the surplus (37.1 percent growth over FY2020 as opposed to forecasted growth of 4.4 percent – reaping $1.2 billion above the estimate). However, Flores noted that non-withholding is a volatile revenue source.
Corporate income tax receipts exceeded expectations as well, coming in $227 million above the estimates.
Flores’s detailed review of the FY2021 general fund revenue and Virginia economy is available here >.
VML Contact: Janet Areson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation revenues see the light at the end of the tunnel
At the Joint meeting of the House and Senate money committees this Wednesday, Finance Secretary Joe Flores announced that transportation revenues came in higher than anticipated resulting in a revenue surplus of approximately $371.5 million.
The transportation revenues surplus is in part due to robust vehicle sales tax and strong motor fuels revenues. Flores attributed the growth in transportation revenues to several factors including the overall improvement of the state’s economy including increases in vehicle sales prices due to strong consumer demand and Virginians driving more as daily life has begun to return to normal.
The surplus of transportation revenues is good news after a year of mixed signals from transportation revenue sources that resulted in drastic measures by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to manage short-term cash balances to continue funding existing projects.
It will not be until the next several meetings of the CTB that we will find out the impact this transportation revenue surplus might have on transportation programs that are managed by the CTB. While it is certainly a good sign that revenues are rebounding there are many programs that were delayed as transportation revenues were uncertain or declining at the end of FY20 and the beginning of FY21. It is worth keeping in mind that how the CTB decides to manage this revenue surplus or any actions the General Assembly decides to take during the 2022 Session remain to be seen and could have an impact on projects and programs.
While Flores’s announcement of higher than anticipated transportation revenues was certainly welcome news regarding FY21 revenues he did so while cautioning that while revenues for FY22 are also looking better than expected this outlook comes with a significant caveat that the impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may yet have curveballs in store for Virginia and the economy of the Commonwealth. We will know more about the state of revenues later this year as Governor Northam prepares the final budget of his term in office.
VML Contact: Mitchell Smiley, email@example.com
VML 2021 Annual Conference
VML is truly looking forward to holding an in-person Annual Conference October 3-5 in Leesburg. To hold a successful event, VML is considering the health and safety of all staff and attendees. If you would like to attend our conference in person, we strongly encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the next week. This will ensure that you are fully vaccinated by the time the annual conference begins. VML will continue to monitor the COVID-19 numbers with an eye on a safe event, which may have to include restricting attendees.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Post-conference golf event registration now open!
It’s not every year that the Virginia Municipal League’s annual conference happens at a location that also boasts a world class golf course. But that’s just what’s going to happen this fall when we gather at the fantastic Lansdowne Resort (and golf course) in Leesburg!
We are pleased to announce a VML golf event to immediately follow the annual conference.
- Date: Tuesday, October 5.
- Time: Tee times will be assigned beginning from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM until all available slots are filled.
- Cost: $110 per person (special discounted VML rate)
- Amenities: Boxed lunches courtesy McGuireWoods Consulting will be provided prior to the start of the event. Gifts and prizes to be announced soon!
- Groupings & Tee Times: We will do our best to put people who register together in the same foursome. Individual registrations will be assigned to a foursome. All tee times will be communicated in advance of the conference.
To participate, please use the link below to register, indicate your method of payment and provide any dietary restrictions.
More information and registration available here >.
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, email@example.com
Joint Commission on Technology and Science meets
The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) met on Tuesday for an extremely honest and useful discussion on ethical hackers led by Chris Roberts, a leading ethical hacker. Ethical hackers is the terms often used to refer to security experts who duplicate strategies and actions of malicious attackers to reveal weaknesses in a system.
The ethical hacking presentation materials are available here >.
JCOTS also received the recommendations of the Virginia Academy of Science on Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding. The Academy’s recommendations included:
- Establish a structure for more effective collaboration and coordination
- Address gaps in policy and procedure
- Create a body to coordinate and support critical data collection and technology transfer across the Commonwealth
- Provide meaningful economic innovation and incentives to build a resilience economy in Virginia
The Academy’s presentation materials are available here >.
A recording of the meeting, including both presentations, is available on the Virginia House of Delegates Video Streaming resource page.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Events & Opportunities
On December 1-2 VML, the Broadband Association of Virginia, and the Virginia Association of Counties will host a “Broadband Together” event for Virginia’s localities. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting event coming soon on the “Broadband Together” site.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, email@example.com
American Rescue Plan: “Opportunities to Fund Water Infrastructure Priorities” webinar coming in September
On Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM ET, the National Association of Counties (NACo) will host a 1.5-hour webinar to provide an overview of the American Rescue Plan, detail how funds can support stormwater and wastewater, share several examples of local government plans for funding, and a follow-up document with jurisdiction and national resources for additional questions. The webinar goals are to address questions, learn of examples, and consider funding projects that address long-standing water infrastructure needs.
Background: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds; an allocation of $65.1 billion for local government use to respond to acute pandemic response needs, fill revenue shortfalls and support hard-hit communities. It also allows funds to be used for “necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.”
Registration has not been announced yet but should be available on NACo’s website soon.
VML Contact: Mitchell Smiley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Survey request for cities, counties, and towns under 20,000
Stephanie D. Davis, Ph.D., Collegiate Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management at Virginia Tech, is conducting a research project for the 2021 ICMA Local Government Research Fellowship. Each year, ICMA selects fellows to conduct projects that inform ICMA’s publications, data, and information and training and professional development activities.
Dr. Davis’ research project titled “Strategic Planning for Small Communities” will identify the challenges small communities face implementing a strategic plan and recommendations for addressing those issues. The final product will include recommendations and best practices for developing and implementing a strategic plan including strategic planning during times of crisis.
Please click the link below to take the survey.
Your responses are confidential. If you would like your community to be considered for a case study as a best practice, please include your contact information in the space provided at the end of the survey. As a reminder, this survey is for communities with populations 20,000 and below.
Thank you for your assistance and support for this project.
Contact: Stephanie D. Davis, email@example.com
VDEM announces deadlines for BRIC and FMA with Focus on Equitable Mitigation grants
FEMA has announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 21 BRIC and FMA, which includes $1.16B in funding for these nationally competitive programs. VDEM is currently accepting pre-applications/applications for these funding cycles. Please note that VDEM’s application timeline is different from FEMA’s as VDEM builds in time to provide technical assistance such as benefit cost analysis, as well as a stakeholder driven peer review process mentioned above.
VDEM is also accepting applications through the HMGP for FEMA-DR-VA-4602, which is the February 2021 Ice Storm. HMGP funding through DR-4602 is expected to be approximately $3.7M.
VDEM encourages applicants to submit pre-applications as soon as possible so VDEM Grant Administrators can determine eligibility prior to being prompted to submit an application. VDEM can assist in determining the most appropriate grant program to apply for. All project applications, and supporting documentation, must be submitted by November 10, 2021, at 5pm through https://vdem.emgants.com.
Application development webinars
VDEM will provide three webinars on application development for FMA, BRIC, and HMGP 4602.
Friday, August 20, 2021 – 10:00 AM
- Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/164519948595
Monday, August 23, 2021 – 10:00 AM
- Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/164522434029
Friday, August 27 2021 – 2:00 PM
- Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/164522616575
VDEM Contact: For more information on this funding opportunity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay current on VDEM grant funding opportunities, please register for Grant Alerts at https://www.vaemergency.gov/grants/.
VAPDC final summer series event on August 24
The Virginia Association of Planning Commissions (VAPDC) has presented a series of educational and informational programs throughout the Summer. The fourth and final of these online meetings it tilted “Broadband Solutions” and will be held Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 10:00-11:30 AM.
Join VAPDC for the latest news on federal and state broadband funding programs. Just added to the list of speakers is Ajit Pai, Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman. Attendees will also hear from several service providers about how they are making partnerships work to expand broadband access in different parts of Virginia.
VAPDC Contact: Executive Director David Blount, DBlount@tjpdc.org
VML member ZenCity has a new content piece that our local government members may find useful.
The City Manager’s Guide to Strategic Planning Made Easier Through Community Feedback, offers best practices to help city and county managers draft and execute a successful plan. Topics covered include:
- Avoid pitfalls that occur without adequate community input
- Use community engagement in strategic planning best practices
- Define strategic priorities based on your community’s needs
- Get the data you need for council to approve your plan
- Use resident feedback for performance management
- Benchmark your initiatives against similar cities & counties
ZenCity Contact: Assaf Frances, Director of Urban Policy & Partnerships, email@example.com