No Tax Increases in City’s Proposed $1.9 Billion Budget

Includes More Teachers, Police, New Fire-Rescue Station

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

​City Manager Dave Hansen today proposed a $1.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2016-17 that preserves the lowest tax rates in Hampton Roads, while funding 127 new school employees, 13 new police officers, a new fire and rescue station and the opening of a new recreation center.

The budget includes no increase in taxes and no increase in fees for water, sewer and storm water management. It proposes a $1.64-per-month increase for trash collection, disposal and recycling. That will cover replacing old garbage trucks and higher pension costs.
 
Despite adding 202 new positions, the budget is only 2 percent larger than the current budget. It is the city’s first budget since the recession that shows revenue growth without a major tax increase.
 
Under this budget, Virginia Beach would still have the lowest tax rates among the seven cities of Hampton Roads on:
 
·         Real estate
·         Cars
·         Meals tax rate
·         Machinery and tools
 
The proposed budget funds dozens of capital projects in the coming year. The six-year, $3-billion capital plan calls for 209 construction projects, among them:
 
·         Replacing the Lesner Bridge
·         Replacing the Kempsville Recreation Center
·         A new fire and rescue station in the Burton Station area
·         Extending light rail, a possible referendum and final City Council decision
·         Infrastructure for the Oceanfront arena
·         Replacing Princess Anne Middle School and Princess Anne High School
·         Replacing the police station in Kempsville
·         Alleviating flooding around Lake Holly and other neighborhoods
·         Expanding the citywide network of bikeways and trails
·         Many road and sewer projects.
 
On the operations side, the budget includes several new initiatives, among them:

 

·         Schools: Restores 127 positions, many of them lost during the recession. It also creates a new Entrepreneurship and Business Academy at Kempsville High School and replaces 23 buses.

·         Police: 10 new officers for general policing. This is the first year in a multiyear effort to increase the size of the police force.

·         Body cameras: 110 body cameras for police officers. This is the first year in a four-year project to supply 450 cameras. To support the cameras, the Police Department will hire three new employees and the Commonwealth’s Attorney will hire four new employees.

·         EMS: A new recruiter to attract and retain volunteers for the city’s 10 volunteer rescue squads.

·         Jobs: $1 million to attract high-paying jobs in biomedical and health care.

·         Mental health: Additional psychiatry services contracted through Eastern Virginia Medical School

·         Clean rivers and bays: 3 new positions to reduce water pollution.

 

The City Council will discuss the proposed budget over the next six weeks. The council will approve a budget and six-year Capital Improvement Program on May 10.

 

Citizens have several ways to comment on the budget:

 

Public hearings: Two hearings are scheduled, both at 6 p.m.

·         April 21 – Cox High School, 2425 Shorehaven Drive

·         April 26 – City Council chamber, 2401 Courthouse Drive

 

Virtual Town Hall: Citizens can recommend changes and leave comments at www.VBgov.com/virtualtownhall. 

 

New online budget tool: An interactive tool that lets citizens suggest detailed changes to revenues and expenses, balance the budget and leave comments. Visit Balancing Act at http://virginiabeachva.abalancingact.com/

 

To read a one-page summary of the budget, visit here.

 

To read the complete budget, visit www.VBgov.com/budget.

 

To see an estimate of all your city taxes and where the money goes, visit Taxpayer Receipt at http://virginiabeachva.abalancingact.com/taxreceipt

 

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