HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton residents could see a real estate tax rate decrease in the next fiscal year if a proposed budget is approved by Hampton City Council.

Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting on Wednesday released her recommended $582 million fiscal year 2023 budget.

There’s $24.6 million in tax relief in the proposed budget for residents. The relief includes a 6-cent decrease in the release estate tax rate (bringing it from $1.24 per $100 of assessed property value to $1.18), valuing automobiles at 75% of their value for tax bills, and ending the local portion of the sales tax on groceries.

Hampton officials are also not proposing any fee increases.

The budget would allocate $268 million for schools and $314 million for city operations, including debt payments for city and school projects. The city’s school funding formula gives 61.83% of new residential taxes to the school division.

Bunting’s budget would give raises between 5% and 7% to staff, add new positions in important areas such as licensed commercial drivers and some skilled trades, fully fund the school’s budget request so teachers can get raises, and fund youth initiatives.

“Proposed pay raises are varied, with sworn public safety staff and 911 operators in line for 7% increases; civilian staff earning less than $50,000, 6%; civilian staff earning $50,000-$100,000, 5.5%; and staff earning more than $100,000, 5%. The minimum wage the city pays will be increased to $13 per hour,” the city wrote in a news release Wednesday.

New positions include:

  • Paralegal, lawyer and part-time investigator in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office;
  • Additional codes inspectors
  • Plans reviewer and zoning official
  • Small-business liaison
  • Family support specialist
  • Cyber security position and an additional Human Resources person
  • Grant writer and grant accountant

Some capital improvement projects that are proposed or already funded include:

  • Jail security upgrades
  • Pump station for growth in the Hampton Roads Center North business park
  • Speeding up three resilience projects to improve water quality/reduce damage from flooding
  • Improvements to stormwater systems and investing in reducing neighborhood flooding
  • Widening Buckroe Beach
  • Dredging waterways
  • Improvements at Bluebird Gap Farm, Darling Stadium, and Hampton Coliseum
  • More parking lot maintenance and repairs at fleet facility
  • Replacing damaged guardrails

City Council will consider the budget and have the opportunity to make changes before a vote scheduled for May 11. Work sessions and public hearings will be held before then.

More funds and spending might also be changed and aren’t currently reflected in the FY 2023 budget, including “federal COVID-relief funds, grants, savings from restructuring debt, and projected year-end savings due conservative revenue projections and tight fiscal controls.”

 The full recommended budget will be released on Friday, April 15, and can be found online at hampton.gov/budget