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Southwest, Central Virginia budgets fared better than expected during COVID-19 pandemic

Roanoke is projecting about a surprising $9.5 million increase in revenue

Roanoke is expecting to make money this year, and a lot of it.
Roanoke is expecting to make money this year, and a lot of it.

ROANOKE, Va. – Crunching the numbers, Roanoke City’s looking a lot better than expected for the Fiscal Year 2022.

The city’s projecting about a $9.5 million increase in revenue. During the council meeting on Monday afternoon, City Manager Bob Cowell said he was shocked.

“I would not have believed that a year ago. Where we were a year ago, was preparing for really the significant fallout we anticipated coming from COVID, particularly tied to revenue,” said Cowell.

The surprising trend has been seen across Central and Southwest Virginia.

Danville will see a total revenue increase of $3 million. City Manager Ken Larking said that stimulus checks allowed citizens to spend more and sales tax revenues saw a spike.

“The state has started collecting tax revenue from online sales in a more robust way than it used to and that happened to be about a year ago, ” said Larking.

However, the meals and hotel tax revenues took a hit.

“Those things aren’t performing as well as we would have expected otherwise, but all in all, I think we balanced out fairly well,” said Larking.

But not everyone’s better off. In Montgomery County, the projected FY22 budget predicts a revenue loss of $3.9 million.

Over in the Hill City, Lynchburg Interim City Manager Reid Wodicka credits conservative spending for their success. He said the city’s revenue is less than anticipated, but slowly making a comeback. Lynchburg is projecting a $4.4 million revenue increase.

“On the whole, we are doing better than what we anticipated, but there certainly are still some challenges,” said Wodicka.

About the Author:

Lindsey joined the WSLS 10 team as a reporter in February 2019 and is thrilled to call Roanoke her new home!