Williamsburg's COVID Budget Strategy Wins Innovation Award
Words and Images Courtesy of the City of Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA – The Virginia Municipal League awarded the City of Williamsburg with the
2022 Innovation Award in the category of Risk Management for its Reserve Protection budget
strategy through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statewide competition recognizes innovative problem-solving, excellence in management,
citizen participation, and improved services to citizens.
To combat the risk of outside circumstances negatively affecting the financial health of the City's
tourism-based economy, the City maintains an extremely high policy threshold for reserve
funds, requiring an equivalent of 35% of last year's revenues to be held in an operating reserve.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit City staff recognized early that the pandemic would be a
long-term emergency that required a different budget management strategy: Instead of using
reserve funds, the City dedicated any additional funds that could possibly be used to make up
for the shortfalls. This strategy allowed the City to tap into the reserves occasionally without
dipping below the 35% threshold.
"We are extremely proud to receive this honor from the Virginia Municipal League," City
Manager Andrew O. Trivette said. "Though it would have been easy to tap into our very healthy
reserve in the early days of the pandemic, our staff instead planned for the future. We
developed and executed a three-year strategy that focused on protecting the reserve, which
allowed us to address the immediate needs of the pandemic while maintaining our ability to fight
the next emergency with a robust reserve still intact."
This is the second consecutive year the City has won an Innovation Award. The City won the
award in the same category last year for its drive-thru voting system.
"The proof is in the numbers, and the City of Williamsburg did a fantastic job proving they could
manage risk during one of the riskiest financial periods in recent memory. The City's fiscal
discipline and foresight is commendable," the VML judges wrote.
VML received nearly 80 entries, from which judges selected one winner in each of the eight
categories. One of the category winners will be chosen to receive the President's Award, which
will be announced at VML's annual conference on Oct. 3.
Read the full news release from the Virginia Municipal League.