Norfolk just approved its 2020 budget – no tax increase

(Southside Daily file photo)
(Southside Daily file photo)

NORFOLK — City Council has approved the city’s $1.3 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020.

Officials said the budget does not include a tax increase, but includes a $2 per month increase to the waste management fee to allow the city to continue its recycling program.

The storm water fee for non-residential customers will increase to match the residential rate, allowing the city to expedite its investments in storm water infrastructure.

According to the approved budget, Norfolk Public Schools will receive an additional $3 million in local operating support, matching the Approved School Board Budget.

Additionally, the budget provides funding for initiatives including:

  • Support for City Council priorities – Diversity and Inclusion, Climate Change, and Lifelong Learning.
  • Funds to develop a multi-modal transportation master plan.
  • Continued investment in the St. Paul’s Area transformation; including $83 million over five years for capital investments.
  • Increased staffing for the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center.
  • Funds for regional public safety initiatives to advance preparation and response to critical incidents.
  • Funds to support expanding Park Ranger services and landscape beautification efforts citywide.
  • A raise for city employees in January 2020 and no increase to employee health care premiums.
  • $3.9 million to improve curb, gutter, and sidewalks citywide.
  • Investments in infrastructure improvements including replacing 94-year-old Fire Station 11, and raising the downtown flood wall to align with new FEMA requirements.

Residents’ participation in the public budget hearing last month, as well as feedback through interactive budget challenges and the city’s online budget balancing tool helped inform deliberations on the budget, city officials said.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.