Feb. 26, 2020 - City Council got some good news about revenue growth, and then tackled a long list of projects that could use that money — and then some — for strategic priorities.
Karl Daughtrey, finance director, projected that revenue for next year would increase by $11.2 million, or 3.2 percent. That would be the biggest revenue increase the city has seen since 2008 without a tax rate increase, Daughtrey said.
While that’s a “significant increase” from the recession and post-recession years, Daughtrey said 3 percent annual growth is the amount a city really needs for a sustainable budget.
“This is really big news,” said City Manager Mary Bunting. With growth projected in most revenue categories, Bunting said it showed that Council’s economic vision of reinvestment in commercial, retail and hotel strategies was reaping benefits. Among the areas with projected growth: property taxes (led by commercial property), meals tax, sales tax, and business license tax.
Daughtrey cautioned that city leaders won’t get to decide how to spend the entire $11.4 million for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1. About $2.4 million is already allocated. That includes an additional $1.3 million for schools, according to the funding formula. Not all mandatory spending has been calculated yet, he said. The General Assembly is considering several mandates that would pass costs to localities.
City Council reviewed more than 60 funding requests — some one-time capital costs and others annual operating costs — sorting them into priority groupings.
Among the priorities: competitive compensation and raises to retain and attract talented staff, putting artificial turf at Darling Stadium, staffing and operating costs for neighborhood centers in Fox Hill and Olde Hampton when they open, expanding the summer youth employment program and the workforce initiative, increased police staffing and equipment, relocating the police firing range, infrastructure improvements, housing investments, Resilient Hampton projects, bus stop improvements, blight abatement funds and increased staffing for codes enforcement.
Bunting said that, as staff develops recommended budgets for capital and operating expenses, they will try to meet as many of the priorities as is financially possible.
Bunting will also reach out to city residents and businesses and give them a chance to talk about their priorities, in a variety of settings and times of day:
- March 12, 6:30 – 8 p.m. will be an online opportunity to ask questions via Facebook Live online
- March 14, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. will be an in-person meeting at Sandy Bottom Nature Park meeting room
- March 17, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Facebook Live online
Two smaller and more informal chats give residents the opportunity to sit down with the city manager in more casual settings. Residents are invited to purchase a beverage and join her:
- March 10, 8:30 – 10 a.m., over coffee at the Willow Oaks McDonald’s
- March 19, 5:30 – 7 p.m., at Oozlefinch brewery on Fort Monroe