Approved Budget Reduces Real Estate Tax Rate
The City of Virginia Beach is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic in a stronger budget position than anticipated. The steps taken to address the economic impacts of the pandemic over the last year, combined with the City's tradition of sound financial management practices and conservative fiscal policies, have been effective. While complete recovery will take time, the City Council adopted an FY 2021-22 budget that implements several new initiatives in their critical focus areas, including tax reductions, several stormwater initiatives to combat flooding, crime prevention technologies and other notable investments in the community. Key elements are highlighted below, and full details may be found at VBgov.com/budget.
Real Estate Tax Decrease
The City Council approved a reduction in the real estate tax rate that will save taxpayers about $75 annually on a home valued at $275,000. The new rate of $0.99 per $100 of assessed value for FY 2021-22 means Virginia Beach's real estate tax remains the lowest in the region.
|Proposed FY 2021-22 Real Estate Tax Rates per $100|||
|Base Citywide Amount||Change From FY 2020-21|
|Newport News||$1.22||$ -|
Stormwater & Infrastructure
- Funded the addition of a pipe cleaning crew to proactively clean stormwater pipes as well as new crew to maintain retention ponds, ditches and trenches, etc.
- Established a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) project, "Stormwater Infrastructure Cost Participation" to provide a cost-sharing opportunity with developers to construct stormwater infrastructure that has been identified from the City's Stormwater Modeling and Master Plans
- Approved the City to work with the Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation District and Virginia Conservation Assistance Program to publicize and disseminate information about VCAP services to Virginia Beach citizens. VCAP provides financial, technical, and educational assistance to property owners in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for implementing eligible stormwater control practices. If approved by VCAP, most practices are eligible for 75% financial reimbursement. The City may reimburse property owners for the remaining expenses not covered by the program. No new funding is needed in the FY 2021-22 budget to support this initiative.
- Will begin construction on CIP project, "Sandbridge Road – Nimmo Phase VII," to ensure that a mile-long stretch of roadway in Sandbridge remains passible during a 100-year flood event and will withstand three feet of sea level rise
- Invested $2 million in FY 2021-22 and for a total of $43.7 million by FY 2026-27 to fully fund "Nimmo Parkway VII-B" to construct a bridge over Asheville Bridge Creek and the creek's adjacent floodplains and wetlands
- Funded full design on projects in the Elbow Road corridor to transform the narrow, curvy, two-lane Elbow Road into a four-lane roadway built for 21st century needs and conditions
- $120,000 to provide an independent assessment of the Virginia Beach Police Department's current policies and procedures, including body-worn cameras and use of force
- Funded automatic license plate reader equipment and technology for installation throughout the city pending the adoption of a governing policy regarding the usage of the technology
- Dedicated reserve of $100,000 to support a potential Citizens Review Panel that would act as a law-enforcement civilian oversight body once approved by City Council
- A number of CIP projects will also address public safety needs.
- "Crime Prevention through Environmental Design" will fund studies to determine areas that presently attract crime and modify them by making changes like improved lighting
- "Gunshot Detection System" to be deployed at the Oceanfront and potentially other areas
- Plans for Building 2 will be altered to include a technologically advanced, data-driven command center for the future Police Headquarters.
- Provide additional funding to the "Public Safety Equipment Replacement" project to support future replacement of Police Department technology and equipment
- Funded installation of intercoms throughout the Municipal Complex as deemed necessary under the existing CIP Project "City Security Enhancements"
Healthy, Safe & Thriving Community
- Funded a neighborhood revitalization pilot program to provide rehabilitation assistance to homeowners to help pay for improvements such as repairing or replacing water pipes, HVAC equipment, a roof, etc.
- $220,000 to purchase and install a playground and activity space in the Friendship Village neighborhood and $1,000,000 to the CIP project "Park Playground Renovations III" to address the backlog of playground maintenance needs citywide
- $300,000 to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) to support additional marketing and grounds services for a Maya Lin exhibition opening April 2022
- Funded a new CIP project to add Wi-Fi to select sports fields at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex, at City View Park and at the stage area at Mount Trashmore over a three-year period.
- $135,000 and one position to establish a recycling program for Sandbridge Beach
- Pilot program to eliminate library fines and fees on juvenile accounts that is designed to help increase youth participation in library programs
- $10,000 in grant money to Hampton Roads Pride and $25,000 to Eggleston, a non-profit organization that provides education, job training, and employment for individuals with disabilities
- Saved the City approximately $33,511 in FY 2021-22 by funding a new plan to operate the Family Shelter at the Housing Resource Center when the current contract with Samaritan House expires on July 1, 2021
- Approved hiring eight crisis clinicians who will be dispatched upon receipt of an emergency call to assist with the stabilization of the individual, the creation of a safety plan, and the arrangement of follow-up services with the local Community Service Board as a part of the state's Children's and Adult's Mental Health Mobile Crisis Response Hub
- One full-time clinician for Human Services who will focus on treating Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, other forms of trauma and/or substance use disorders
Growing Economic Opportunities
- $6 million to build-out the City's Innovation Park infrastructure by constructing an expansion of Hudome Way, a two-lane undivided parkway that extends east from Landstown Center Way (includes utility and stormwater infrastructure)
- A new project to provide resources for strategic site acquisitions to support City Council's economic and tourism development goals by providing a readily identifiable and efficient means of purchasing properties that provide economic development opportunities for the City
Staffing & Compensation
- Provide all nonsworn employees a 4.5% pay increase & all sworn/uniformed city employees an 8.5% increase
- $1.1 million to provide incentive pay and longevity incentive pay for the Police Department in order to help improve recruitment and retention
- $500,000 for pay supplements to state attorneys in the Virginia Beach Office of the Public Defender to address pay disparity between public defenders and prosecutors working in the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
- Nearly $115,000 to address high turnover rates by supplementing the salaries of state employees within the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and the General District Court
- Additional funds to Emergency Medical Services to accelerate the hiring timeline for full-time positions for the Burton Station Fire/EMS Station to help relieve current staff who've been carrying a heavy burden due to the pandemic
Modifications in the budget also reflect adjustments made by the School Board to the Schools' FY 2021-22 Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Project plan.
Details about the funding sources and appropriation adjustments made during the reconciliation process are available at vbgov.com/budget.