SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The average property owner using Suffolk services could pay an additional $80 in fees a year under the city’s proposed 2021-2022 budget.
The $698-million spending plan, revealed to Suffolk City Council Wednesday afternoon, includes a 25% increase in the stormwater fee, as well as a 5.4% increase in the water and sewer fees charged monthly to property owners.
Overall, the budget is 7.2% increase over the previous year.
While it provides funding for infrastructure projects, Finance Director Tealen Hansen pointed out that it also allows for more people to work for the city.
In her presentation, Hansen said that the interim city manager’s budget provides for nearly 50 new employees to help the city catch up with its growing population.
“In looking throughout the region, we maintain, I believe, the second-lowest staffing ratio as it relates to per capita staffing,” Hansen said.
Since 2012, Suffolk’s population has grown by nearly 10,000 people but hasn’t always increased staffing.
Eighteen of the positions are reserved for new firefighters to staff a new fire station along the fast-growing College Drive corridor of the city. An additional seven will be needed to staff the new Bennett’s Creek Recreation Center.
The remaining 22 are spread across a wide variety of departments.
“We believe these positions are necessary to provide the level of service we do and enhance in some areas,” Hansen said.
As the budget is proposed, the real estate tax rate will stay at $1.11 for every $100 of assessed value. Still, many homeowners may pay more in taxes because assessments grew by 5.35% in the last year due to the robust housing market.
The city plans to provide a 2.5% raise to all employees and constitutional officers and $65.3 million to Suffolk Public Schools.
Just over $60 million is included in the Capital Improvement Plan to fund major projects like the Nansemond Parkway Wilroy Road flyover project.