City of Danville: Five Year Financial Plan

Report National Resource Network Danville, Virginia July 18, 2018 Finance + Operation

In 2017, the City of Danville applied to the National Resource Network for assistance with multi-year financial planning. The Network had previously worked with City officials to establish a community development corporation. Based on an assessment, the Network recommended that the City develop a five-year financial plan to help stabilize the City’s finances and increase its economic competitiveness. To frame the plan, the Network focused on three areas identified by the Danville City Council as priorities for community resources going forward:

  • Reduce violent crime;
  • Improving education in City schools; and
  • Grow Danville.

In order to incorporate multi-year financial planning into the City’s processes, the Network Team and the City jointly agreed to a project scope and timeline. First, the Network Team conducted research on City operations and comparable jurisdictions to better understand pressures on City resources and competitiveness. Second, a five-year baseline projection was created to model Danville’s structural deficit in the event that City leadership does not implement needed reforms. Third, specific initiatives were analyzed using information and recommendations from City staff, an Advisory Committee made up of community stakeholders, and best practices research.

With a projected baseline cumulative deficit of over $22 million in the next five years, the Network team found that the City could completely run out of funds as early as FY 2024 absent corrective action. The City government will need to make tough choices over the next five years to prevent insolvency. The Danville Plan is designed as a blueprint to provide City leadership with options to curb spending and implement targeted increases in revenue in order to bring the City budget back into balance. The Plan does contain recommendations of program cuts and new taxes, but all initiatives are data-driven and based on benchmark research, best practices, and are sensitive to Danville’s unique circumstances. Many initiatives would bring Danville’s service delivery and revenue structure in line with those of other Virginia cities. Most importantly, the overarching goal of the Plan is to allow the City to make the changes necessary to begin to invest in its future in a sustainable way. The Plan also details options for investment in the priority areas identified by Council, but those investments will only be possible if the City first brings its budget into balance.

After a final presentation of the Plan to City leadership in July of 2018, the City, School Board and Network agreed to move forward with a complementary multi-year planning process for Danville Public Schools.

This portion of the Network’s engagement in Danville was led by consortium member PFM. Learn more about the Network’s other two projects in Danville, a five-year financial plan for Danville Public Schools and the creation of a Community Development Corporation.

City of Danville: Five Year Financial Plan