City Staff Readies to Implement Flood Protection Program Following Referendum Vote
While the final results of yesterday's election need to be certified, City staff is wasting no time in planning to implement the citywide flood protection program after preliminary results show a majority of voters supported the $567.5 million bond referendum.
"Virginia Beach residents understand the importance of taking more aggressive measures now to protect our communities from the effects of recurrent flooding," said Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer. "Without the funding from this referendum, the completion of these projects would have taken 40 years to complete. This affirmative vote from citizens will allow the City to move forward on what is one of the most critical needs for our city."
City staff is already planning for the design and construction of 21 projects included in Phase 1 of the program. This includes accelerating flood protection projects currently under way and expanding to include several new projects. The Phase 1 projects will be built over the next 10 years, which is much sooner than the current funding and schedule would allow.
The City will pay off the bond debt over 20 years by increasing the real estate tax rate 4.3 cents per $100 of a property's assessed value. To offset this increase, the stormwater fee will be locked in at the current rate until 2028. Even with the increase, the City's tax rate would still remain the lowest in the region at $1.03 per $100 of a property's assessed value.
In July, the Virginia Beach City Council approved a resolution that included assurances that the bond referendum funds would only be spent on the specified Phase 1 projects. Council also established a special revenue fund where the money collected from the increase in real estate taxes will be deposited and used only for the implementation of the Flood Protection Program. Additionally, a Citizen Oversight Board will be created to oversee and report on the progress of the Flood Protection Program. This group will provide the City Council with regular public briefings every two months addressing the 21 projects included in Phase 1 and progress reports on work to eliminate the backlog in the maintenance of the City's legacy ditches, canals, and ponds.
Information about the Flood Protection Program, including details on the projects, a project timeline, videos and FAQs can be found on the dedicated webpage, www.VBgov.com/RippleEffect.
Questions about the Flood Protection Program can be sent to RippleEffect@VBgov.com.