Proposed 2015-16 City Budget Emphasizes Major Economic Initiatives

The Goal: Create New Jobs and Businesses for the Future

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

City Manager James K. Spore today proposed a $1.87 billion budget for fiscal year 2015-16 that emphasizes several major economic development projects that will expand Virginia Beach’s economy. 

The proposed budget includes funding for light rail to Town Center, infrastructure for a private Oceanfront arena and the start of a biomedical complex at Princess Anne Commons. These projects will create new jobs and attract new businesses – generating new taxes to pay for vital city services. 

“This is a watershed year for Virginia Beach. This is a watershed budget for our city government,” Spore wrote in his annual budget letter. “That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not. This is the year when a lot of very big things will come together for Virginia Beach. This is the year when the City Council will make some very big decisions on some very big projects – projects that could change Virginia Beach for decades to come.” 

The budget includes some tax increases, including a 6-cent increase in the real estate tax, to help maintain school and city services in the face of declining state and federal revenues. Virginia Beach has lost $91 million a year in state funding alone. 

Under this budget, Virginia Beach would still have the lowest tax rates among the seven major cities of Hampton Roads, including:

·         The lowest real estate tax rate

·         The lowest car tax rate

·         The lowest meals tax rate

·         The lowest machinery and tools tax rate 

The total budget would increase 2.2 percent, or roughly the rate of inflation. When adjusted for inflation and population growth, the city’s budget has shrunk each year since 2010. 

The proposed budget includes 243 fewer positions than the current budget – 210 in schools (including 170 in classrooms) and 33 in the city (including closing the Pendleton Child Services Center and eliminating the sheriff’s DARE program). 

The demand for city services – measured by such things as police and fire calls, library circulation, family support cases, recreation center use and more – is growing 70 percent faster than the population. 

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget May 12.  

Two public hearings are scheduled:

  • April 23 at 6 p.m., Green Run High School, 1700 Dahlia Drive
  • April 28 at 6 p.m., City Council chamber, 2401 Courthouse Drive 

To view the entire proposed city budget, there are two options: 

·        To explore details of the budget, try our new program – OpenVB. It’s an easy-to-use, graphical alternative to wading through hundreds of pages of technical documents. Citizens can focus on any aspect of the budget – revenues, expenses, operations and capital projects – in great detail. Every detail is available – at the big-picture level or at the level of individual line items.

o   To explore expenses, go to Budgetexpenditure.vbgov.com.

o   To explore revenues, go to Budgetrevenue.vbgov.com

·        To read budget documents, either in online flip-book format or to download as a PDF documents, visit www.VBgov.com/budget. Three documents are available: an executive summary, a detailed operating budget and a detailed six-year capital program.

 

 

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