VIRGINIA BEACH — City Manager Dave Hansen unveiled his proposed budget for FY2020. The plan includes an increase in the city’s stormwater maintenance projects, as well as tax and fee increases to help pay for them.
Under the proposed capital improvement plan, which funds constructions projects throughout the city over multiple years, the city’s real estate tax would increase 1.5-cents, the water rate would increase 49-cents, waste management would increase $2 per month, and the stormwater daily rate would increase 3.5-cents annually over the next six years.
David Bradley, the city’s director of management services and budget, said council has already approved a 2.5-cent increase over the next four years. So Tuesday’s proposal asked for an additional cent increase.
With the proposed tax increases and redirection of funding, Bradley said the city could fund much of the stormwater maintanance, replacement, and dredging projects.
“We could fund $1.3 billion over 13 years,” for stormwater projects, Bradley said. “If those rate increases stayed in place, we could actually fund $2.2 billion by 2040.”
“The increase in the city’s water rate is needed because of the cost associated with the water sales agreement with Norfolk,” said Bob Montague, director of public utilities.
The vision of Hansen’s proposed budget — with stormwater and sea-level rise a top priority — aligns with the priorities that came out of City Council’s retreat in February.
The proposed tax increases “will significantly increase our operations and maintenance effort as well as construct the numerous recurrent flooding preventative projects we currently understand are needed,” according to an executive summary of the budget.
If the proposed tax hikes are implemented, $395 million would be raised for stormwater six years from now. Bradley said that would make “stormwater the biggest proportion of this capital improvement program” at 23 percent.