VIRGINIA BEACH-- City Manager James K. Spore Tuesday proposed a $1.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-14 that includes no increase in the real estate or personal property tax rates, according to a news release on the city's website.
Under the city manager's budget, Virginia Beach will not have to raise the real estate tax rate to fund schools and transportation, as it did in 2012. Also the city will not have to withdraw as much from it's savings accounts, as it has in the past four years.
The proposed budget would grow just $5.5 million, or three-tenths of 1 percent – far less than the 2.1 percent inflation rate in 2012.
No cuts are proposed in public safety agencies and police, fire, EMS, 911 and the prosecutor’s office would add 12 new positions.
According to the release, city officials had expected a more difficult budget in November, when they estimated real estate assessments would drop 3 percent.
Instead, assessments dropped only 0.8 percent. As a result, the city will have $10 million more in revenues than expected.
To partly offset reductions in federal and state revenues, the proposed budget includes four small tax and rate increases:
• A $1 increase in the boat tax (per $100 of value) to help fund dredging projects that directly benefit boaters.
• A 5-cent increase in the cigarette tax to fund economic development projects that bring new jobs.
• A $3 monthly increase in the waste management fee to help fund garbage disposal. Virginia Beach’s discount with SPSA, the regional trash agency, will end in 2015.
• Higher fees for some parks and recreation programs, some planning permits and some special event permits to help defray costs.
The city will hold a public budget information session on April 4 at 6 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
City Manager James Spore and Management Services Director Catheryn Whitesell will give a presentation and take questions. It is not a public hearing. The information session will give citizens a chance to learn more about the proposed budget.
The City Council will hold two public budget hearings: April 18 at Virginia Beach Middle School, and April 23 in the City Council chamber. Both are at 6 p.m. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget May 14th.