Norfolk council OKs bump in real estate taxes to increase school funding, city employee pay

Norfolk city seal generic city of norfolk_300471
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council members passed their $1.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 on Tuesday night.
So what does this mean for residents?
A 10 cent real estate tax increase will lead to about a $21-a-month increase for the average homeowner.
Council members say this will provide $5 million in funding for Norfolk Public Schools, $1.2 million in funding for restorations to the police department, $1.8 million to address flooding issues, and $3.5 million will go towards redeveloping three public housing areas near St. Pauls Boulevard.
$3.8 million will also go towards addressing a backlog of aging city vehicles and another $3 million will pay for salary increases for city employees. 
“We asked (City Manager) Doug (Smith) and our staff to be bold and I think this is a budget that carries through with the requests from this council,” said Vice Mayor Theresa Whibley.
Council member Thomas Smigiel who was one of two council members who voted against the budget, says he knows there were critical needs that were addressed in this budget, but he was hoping to compromise on the 10 cent increase.
10 On Your Side met up with him after the meeting to see why he was concerned with the budget.
“I know there are lots of people around Norfolk that are still in those shoe string budgets and a lot of elderly constituents that are on a fixed income, and that 10 cents is a lot for them right now.” said Smigiel.
The city says departments within the city helped balance the budget through $8 million in expense reductions and the elimination of 82 positions.

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