Thursday, June 24, 2021

Newport News and Hampton Adopt New City Budgets

On Tuesday, May 11, Newport News City Council adopted the FY 2022 Operating Budget. City Council held two public hearings and received public comments through their website, email, and voicemail after the City Manager submitted her recommended budget on March 23. The total FY 2022 Operating Budget is $971,508,286, and includes the General Fund, Schools, Waterworks, General Services, and all Special Revenue and Trust Funds.

The real estate tax remains at $1.22 per $100 of assessed value, but there is one user fee increase—the stormwater management fee will increase from $11.85 per month to $12.25 to address capital and backlogged operation and maintenance projects. The $121,025,933 for school division needs includes $113,389,307 to support daily operations and $7,636,626 for debt service on school capital projects, plus an additional $2 million for school bus replacement.

The City Manager proposed a budget with a significant focus on the “People” portion of the City’s Strategic Priorities of People, Places, and Government. In support of that priority, the budget includes funding for early childhood education; expanding staffing at Four Oaks Day Service Center; establishing a Youth Court to address juvenile delinquencies; employee compensation; workforce development initiatives at Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center; seven new city staff positions; and more. The entire budget is available online at the Budget Department’s website.

Hampton’s budget for FY 2022 was passed on Wednesday, May 12, and will go into effect on July 1. Property and car tax rates remain flat, but residents will see increases in the stormwater fee for flooding and pollution reduction, and the wastewater fee for maintenance.

The proposed budget provides an increase of only 2.6 percent, totaling $530,279,092. The increase will accomplish many of the citizen’s and Council’s top priorities that were technically in the FY 2021 budget, but were frozen due to the risk of revenue loss from the pandemic.

The budget is almost evenly split between City Operations (42.8 percent) and School Operations (44.6 percent), with an additional 6.6 percent for debt payments for city and school capital projects. Transfers—some internally to capital projects and some which the City collected on behalf of other entities—accounts for the remaining five percent.

Although the tax rate did not increase, home assessments generally did, with the majority of homeowners seeing increases of five percent or less, making the median increase due to home values around $10.44 per month more.

The City Manager noted that the increases in revenues from the increased home assessments are offset by other revenue declines, with the City seeing a six percent drop in revenues due to decreases in commercial assessments, meals taxes, hotel taxes, amusement taxes, interest income, and more.

Key items on the budget include salary increases plus initiatives to fight crime, expand the youth employment program and workforce development, neighborhood project improvements to reduce flooding and pollution, and updates to the City’s aging sanitary sewer system

The adopted Hampton FY 2021 budget can be viewed in its entirety at www.hampton.gov/budget.

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