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Jan 29

City Manager's Message 01/29/15: Budget Update & Show Your Team Spirit Fun Friday

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 2:17 PM by Mary Bunting

First, let me apologize for the length of my email today. There are many things I want to cover with you. I hope you will bear with the length of the email and read through it fully, as the fun part of the email is at the end:)!

Yesterday, Council received the first of what will be many updates on the FY 2016 budget development. As part of my ongoing commitment to keep you updated, I wanted to share the information given to Council with you. The report yesterday focused on real estate assessments. Real estate assessments are reviewed each year to reflect the market value of each property, as mandated by state law. The Assessor must reflect market value. He cannot set value for the property to produce the revenue we want or need. Since the housing market crash and national recession, Hampton - like most cities in our region, state and country - has faced declining real estate values. Since real estate tax revenue is by far our largest source of revenue, this lost value has put extreme pressure on the city budget, causing us to have to cut and delay desired investments such as providing consistent employee salary increases. 

I am pleased to report that, yesterday, the City Assessor reported that we had positive growth for the first time since 2009 (FY 2010). Although it was only minor growth - 0.07% - it nevertheless was a dramatic improvement from past years. Mr. Gordineer also noted that by the time supplements are done for construction currently underway, we should have some additional growth. This improvement will help us be able to give the salary increases I have consistently said would be our highest budget priority for the next fiscal year.

I have heard from many employees that they would like to know more about the budget, specifically the factors that influence the choices we make. I have, thus, committed to sponsoring a series of what we are calling "Budget 101". These sessions will be offered in February and will be available for anyone in the workforce who has an interest in learning more about the budget. The dates/times will be as follows:

Feb 12, 9-11 a.m., Council Chambers
Feb 12, 1-3 p.m., Police Training Room
Feb 20, 9-11 a.m., Public Works Training Room
Feb 20, 2-4 p.m., Council Chambers

Attendance should be coordinated with your supervisory structure and we ask that you "register" in advance so we make sure we do not exceed seating capacity in any of the rooms. Some have more seating than others, so we will accommodate folks on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Please note that the sessions offered at HPD or Public Works are not limited to employees of those departments. Any employee can attend a session anywhere that best fits their schedule. We will add other dates and times if we cannot accommodate everyone who is interested in these sessions. Please register by calling Human Resources at 727-6407.

Finally, I was recently reminded (thanks so much Jeff Lawrence!) that the Super Bowl is this coming weekend which means it is time for another Fun Friday Spirit Day. The Super Bowl is a great time to show our team spirit by wearing our favorite sports team's jerseys. So, tomorrow, Friday, January 30th, we'll have our next Spirit Day. Don't feel like you have to wear only Seahawks or Patriots attire - I know we have a lot of Cowboys and Redskins fans out there! Actually, you don’t even have to wear a football jersey, shirt or hat - feel free to wear apparel for any baseball, hockey, lacrosse, swim team or whatever other sport you love (professional, amateur, or even little league).  Let's just join together and show our team spirit - and while we are at it, let’s take a moment to maybe learn something new about a coworker - like who they cheer for, their favorite sport, or what sport their children play. Don't forget to take pictures and send them to Marketing, Inc. so they can capture the moment!

I hope everyone has a great end of the week and weekend!



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