Proposed $1.25 billion budget for Norfolk focuses on public safety, education

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The Norfolk skyline as seen from across the Elizabeth River. (Wikimedia Commons)
The Norfolk skyline as seen from across the Elizabeth River. (Wikimedia Commons)

NORFOLK — A proposal for the 2018 budget of $1.25 billion was introduced Tuesday.

The proposed budget supports city priorities of public safety, education and neighborhoods, said Interim City Manager Doug Smith, as well as Norfolk’s strategy to strengthen the city over the next 100 years.

Some of the budget highlights are:

  • $3.4 million will provide an increase in police vehicles, firetrucks and ambulances and $4.2 million to replace or upgrade equipment
  • A step increase – which will range between about 3 and 7.5 percent – for police, fire-rescue and sheriff employees
  • A 2 percent wage increase for city and government employees
  • About $119 million to support Norfolk Public Schools, which is $65 million more than required funding, some of which will help to build five new city schools
  • About $9.1 million will go towards addressing stormwater and flooding issues, including flood mitigation planning, reducing pollutants in the waterways and improvements to storm water systems and facilities
  • $4.1 million in community development block grants to support economic development, infrastructure, homelessness and Norfolk Works, which helps city residents find jobs and build their careers
  • $20,000 to support the Norfolk Nighthawks program, which provides activities like late-night basketball and continuing education programs to local youth
  • $500,000 to enhance the Elizabeth River Trail Capital Campaign, which will receive $3.5 million over the next five years to add kayak launches, playgrounds, fitness parks and water fountains

Residents will have an opportunity to voice any ideas or concerns about the proposed budget at an open forum at 6 p.m. on April 19 at Granby High School.

City council is expected to vote on the proposed budget in a formal session on May 23 but may make changes before the vote.