NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council Tuesday night approved its fiscal year 2022 budget, which features pay raises for teachers, new police officers and some other emergency responders, a tourism development fund for Ocean View, and more.

As proposed in March, the $1.5-billion budget does not raise taxes or fees.

The budget begins July 1 and its operating fund is a 4.5% increase over last year’s budget. While the city’s projected revenues are still significantly less than pre-coronavirus pandemic days, the city said “the budget makes major investments in City Council’s priorities and begins rebuilding capacity for effective delivery of important services.”

The new starting pay for Norfolk police officers will now be at $50,800 per year beginning at the start of the fiscal year, compared to its current rate of about $43,500 a year. As of March, that new rate is the highest police officer pay in Hampton Roads.

Norfolk police posted on Twitter Tuesday night advertising the newly-approved starting pay.

As 10 On Your Side reported Monday, the budget now includes the formation of the Ocean View Tourism Development Fund, which would start out with $150,000.

The tourism development fund will be used for attracting new tourism-related business to the Ocean View area.

City Council also approved giving $129.6 million to schools this year, which includes a significant increase in funding.

With an $8.6-million increase in funding for Norfolk Public Schools, the division hopes to give:

  • An increase in the starting pay for teachers from $44,220 to $47,000
  • A step increase in the base salaries for current teachers by an average of 5.1%
  • A step increase for classified employees, projected at an average of 5%
  • A step increase for administrators, projected to raise base pay by an average of 3%

Per a city news release, here’s what else the city budget includes:

  • Support for Norfolk Public Schools with an $8.6-million funding increase to help boost starting pay and provide a 5% raise for teachers.    
  • Attraction and retention of city employees with a pay increase for employees and additional compensation for police officers, sheriff’s deputies, 911 telecommunicators, and some firefighters.   
  • Reopening most Recreation and Library facilities closed during the pandemic. 
  • Support city youth with funding for summer youth programming and resources to bring back the Norfolk Emerging Leaders (NEL) program next spring and summer. 
  • Citywide beautification with more funding for street maintenance, median beautification, and median fencing and creating a new litter removal program. 
  • Affordable housing and community development with the creation of the new Department of Housing and Community Development, which will focus on developing strong, healthy, and vibrant neighborhoods, creating and preserving affordable housing, and promoting stable homeownership. 
  • Streamlined development services by creating a “business concierge” position as well as increasing capacity in the zoning and comprehensive planning programs. 
  • Coastal resilience with capital investments of $42.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and $117 million over the next five years.