Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Hampton City Council Finalizes FY2023 Budget

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HAMPTON—Hampton City Council finalized the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 during its legislative session on May 11. The budget will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

The final version closely matches the proposed budget submitted by City Manager Mary Bunting, which includes a reduced tax rate on real estate after home value assessments in the city went up. The tax relief includes a six-cent reduction in the tax rate for property—from $1.24 per $100 to $1.18—and valuing automobiles at only 75 percent of their value for tax purposes.

There was one amendment that was introduced before the final vote. The Manager’s Recommended Budget had expected the state to eliminate the sales tax on groceries. Since the state has not adopted a budget yet, $3.3 million was added back into the revenue projection. The corresponding amount was added to the expense side but will remain on hold until the state budget is settled.

Much of the proposed new annual spending will go toward staff initiatives, with proposed raises between five and seven percent; new positions in some key areas; full funding of the school’s budget so that teachers and school staff also get five percent raises; and youth initiatives.

Some of the proposed new positions will include a paralegal, lawyer, and part-time investigator in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office; additional codes inspectors to ensure properties meet standards; a plans reviewer and zoning official to speed up the development process; a small business liaison to help entrepreneurs through the zoning and permitting process; a family support specialist to work with at-risk youth in schools and a team to help needy families; a cyber security position and an additional human resources person to help fill vacancies; and a grant writer and grant accountant to take advantage of funds from other sources. The Summer Youth Employment Program will also add 25 students next summer, bringing the total to approximately 150 students per year.

It is anticipated that additional funds and spending not reflected in the FY2023 budget will come from a combination of federal covid-relief funds, grants, savings from restructuring debt, and projected year-end savings from conservative revenue projections and tight fiscal controls.

Some of the capital projects proposed or already funded include security updates for the jail; a pump station to accommodate growth in the Hampton Roads Center North business park; acceleration of three resilience projects to improve water quality and reduce damage from flooding; improvements to stormwater systems and making a major investment to reduce neighborhood flooding; widening Buckroe Beach; dredging waterways; improvements at Bluebird Gap Farm, Darling Stadium, and Hampton Coliseum; increased parking lot maintenance and repairs to the fleet facility; and replacing damaged guardrails.

In addition, the schools are projected to receive $10.28 million for capital projects. The city also intends to demolish the aging Social Services building on LaSalle Avenue and move the staff to a leased space.

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