VIRGINIA BEACH — City leaders from two departments have proposed fee increases as part of their 2019-2020 budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
If included in budget and passed by council, the fee increases have the potential to raise nearly $8 million for the city, according to presentations provided during the meeting. The proposed fee hikes could mean an additional $53.40 paid to the city by average households in Virginia Beach.
Bob Montague, director of public utilities, requested a 49-cent increase in the city’s water rate, while Mark Johnson, director of public works, requested an increase in the city’s monthly waste management fee, from $23 to $25.
The requested increase in the city’s water rate, from $4.41 to $4.90 per thousand gallons of water used, is needed because of the cost associated with the water sales agreement with Norfolk, Montague said.
In FY 2020, the deal with Norfolk will cost the Water and Sewer Utility Fund managed by Public Utilities an estimated $4.8 million, which is why Montague said he requested the increase.
Accounting for the proposed fee increase, Virginia Beach would still have the lowest water rate among the seven cities of Hampton Roads, according to Montague’s presentation to council.
The $2 waste management fee increase would be spent on new waste collection equipment and radio equipment, according to Johnson’s presentation.
This is the second year city staff have requested an increase in the waste management fee. City Manager Dave Hansen requested a $1 increase in his proposed FY 2019 budget. However, that increase was eliminated after an alternative budget, crafted by City Council members John Moss, Jessica Abbott, and Bobby Dyer, eliminated the need for fee and tax increases.