Virginia Beach, Va. - City manager Jim Spore is warning department heads and city council about a potential $33 million shortfall during the next fiscal year.
"There will be areas in our service delivery which could be impacted, and this could jeopardize our ability to meet the community's needs," Spore wrote in a letter dated Oct. 9.
Spore asked members of the city's government to come up with ways to meet the budget needs, but not every council member agrees about the forecast.
"I believe we do not have a shortfall we can't manage," said Councilman John Moss. "I believe it's not as dire as it looks."
Moss said the city manager could find things to cut without straining the city. "There's one cut that we can do right away that would generate a whole lot of money and that project is light rail," Moss said.
Last May, city council voted to continue engineering on a light rail extension, but council has not given final approval to the project. Spore writes the light rail is not contributing to the shortfall, explaining money for the engineering is "funded by dedicated revenue streams."
"Council has made no final decision to do it, so if we have no final decision to do it, then that money is available," said Moss.
The budget process is just beginning. City council will vote on a new budget next May. "Each year it takes time to get there, but I'm confident we will get there," said Mayor Will Sessoms.