PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Portsmouth will continue to be home to the highest real estate tax rate in the region under the city manager’s FY 2022-23 budget proposal.

However, on Monday, City Manager Angel Jones said she is not proposing an increase in the rate, which has been $1.30 per $100 of the assessed value for seven years. She also highlighted the already City Council-approved 25% ratio assessment reduction in personal property tax.

Still, taxpayers should expect higher tax bills regardless, as residential property assessment growth is projected to increase by $8.6 million, or 8%.

“Portsmouth has the highest percentage of tax-exempt property in the state, at 41% per the City
Assessor,” Jones said in her letter to City Council. “The city is also dedicated in its development of new
revenue strategies to secure economic growth.”

The total budget proposal amounts to $767.3 million, with the operating budget representing a nearly 10% increase in spending over the previous year.

Following directions from the 2018 budget, Jones said she is proposing fee increases for stormwater, water, and sewer use. Under her plan, sewer and water fees will increase 5% to $5.01 per 1,000 gallons for sewer and $6.37 per 1,000 gallons for water. The stormwater fee will increase 75 cents to $13.50/equivalent residential unit in order to help flood protection projects.

The proposed budget also includes 3-5% pay increases for city employees and a $1.2-million increase in funding to Portsmouth City Schools compared to the previous year. 

Jones said the budget includes continued investments in violence prevention initiatives.

“In partnership with newly formed and existing youth providers, the city will provide recreational program opportunities at multiple locations throughout the city including recreation centers and Portsmouth Public School sites,” Jones wrote. “These programs are designed to offer a variety of life-enriching opportunities that can help youth make positive decisions and give them a path towards a more positive lifestyle. This will have the added benefit of supporting community groups and charitable organizations that are active and working with children.”

Jones also sets aside $4 million over the next five years for a new City Hall design and more than $1 million for amenity additions to the Atlantic Union Bank and Trust Pavilion.

A public hearing is scheduled for the budget on April 12 and April 26.