VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In a unanimous vote, Virginia Beach City Council approved their $2.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year with no tax or fee rate increases.
The vote came one week after the council appeared split over the proposal. The elimination of a 3.5 cent increase in the stormwater rate, as well as more funds to provide financial relief to businesses and taxpayers, appeared to unify the group.
On Tuesday, masks worn inside council chambers reminded anyone watching that this budget year was unlike any before.
Hiring freezes will continue and current employees will not receive their raises in order to make up $67.3 million in estimated lost revenue due to COVID-19.
Also several big projects, such as a $30 million plan to complete renovation work on Buildings 1, 2 and 11 following the mass shooting, will be delayed until funding becomes available.
Council was able to add back in 5 of the 19 new positions recommended by Hillard-Heintze. Four will help to restructure Human Resources and 1 will help start looking at city buildings to see where they could be more secure.
Council agreed to increase the amount set aside for marketing and advertising efforts in the next fiscal year by $1.6 million. Council previously approved $2 million in the current budget to help “bring people back to the beach” when the governor lifts restrictions.
In the meantime, $1 million has been added to a grant fund to help small business suffering through the pandemic.
Those struggling to pay taxes or public utilities during the crisis could get help by way of $6 million.