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The original item was published from 5/11/2023 1:25:00 PM to 5/11/2023 1:30:17 PM.

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* Hampton City News

Posted on: May 11, 2023

[ARCHIVED] City Council approves budget with reduced property tax rate

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May 11, 2023 — The City Council on Wednesday night unanimously approved City Manager Mary Bunting’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes a property tax rate cut of 2 cents per hundred dollars of value. That follows a 6-cent reduction last year.

Hampton’s tax rate will be $1.16 per $100 of assessed value, lower than some neighboring localities. The total proposed budget for FY24 is $611,451,337, which represents a 4.5% increase from last year, below the 6.5% inflation rate for 2022. The City Council had already agreed to assess vehicles at 93%, due to lingering inflation of used-car values from Covid shortages for additional tax relief.

Fiscal Year 2024 begins on July 1, 2023. The city manager assembles the budget proposal each year after taking input from Hampton residents who participate in the “I Value” program through live meetings and online surveys.

Residents will see increases in their monthly stormwater and wastewater bills, for a total increase of $1.73 per month, to pay for additional ditch maintenance and upgrades to those systems.

The Hampton City Schools budget will be $272.7 million, which is an increase of 1.7%. The city-funded portion is $91.8 million, an increase of 7.4%. A presentation by the school system indicated that the budget would fund raises of 5%, plus step increases for teachers. Bunting noted that the local contribution to schools is $38 million more than the state funding formula suggests. The total state gap in funding of state offices and mandates totals $61 million, including schools; the local supplements for the offices of the sheriff, treasurer, clerk of courts, commission of the revenue and commonwealth’s attorney; payments for Line of Duty Act coverage; and coverage of property taxes for disabled veterans. If these were fully funded by the state, Bunting noted, the city’s property tax could be as low as 75 cents per hundred dollars of value.

The budget approved by City Council also includes:

  • 5% raises for staff
  • Step increases for sworn public safety personnel
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour
  • Additional personnel in key areas (park rangers, codes inspectors, human services, public works, and resiliency)
  • Additional funding for outside agencies, including Transitions Family Violence Services, the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula, the Peninsula Agency on Aging, and the Center for Child and Family Services. The largest increase will go to the Community Services Board to fund comprehensive trauma counseling and violence-reduction efforts.

The full budget will be available to read online and in bound volumes at public libraries by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1..

Last month the City Council unanimously approved a five-year, $332 million capital spending plan that accounts for large projects, construction, and maintenance, separate from the annual budget.

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