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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Oct 11

City Council Meeting Recap

Posted on October 11, 2017 at 10:10 AM by Communications Department

City Council Meeting Recap small

Revenue Shortfall for FY2017

At an afternoon work session yesterday, Council was given a financial report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, 2017. Due in part to $4.8 million in overtime costs for Fire and Police, $1.0 million for HRT’s shortfall, $3.6 million less in real estate taxes, and overly optimistic revenue projections that were not met, the city had to pull $3.8 million from its reserves to cover a revenue shortfall in the General Fund for last fiscal year. This is the first time since 2002 that the City has had to use reserves to balance the budget. City Manager Cindy Rohlf told City Council that she has already taken steps to prevent a shortfall from occurring again this fiscal year. 

Panhandling Ordinance Repealed
At its evening meeting yesterday, City Council voted to repeal the City’s ordinance prohibiting panhandling. Council also repealed an ordinance regarding solicitors and amended one that regulated distribution of flyers, solicitation of contributions or selling goods or services on public roads and medians.  City Attorney Collins Owens recommended the changes in light of recent court decisions that deemed ordinances regulating types of speech, including panhandling and soliciting, invalid on First Amendment grounds.

Support for Applications for Transportation Related Funds

City Council endorsed the City’s applications requesting transportation related funds from two programs – the federal Transportation Alternatives (TA) Grant program and VDOT’s Revenue Sharing Program. The City is requesting $400,000 TA funds for sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting improvements along Washington Avenue between 28th and 30th streets. The grant requires a $100,000 City match. The City is applying for $5 million in VDOT Revenue Sharing Funds for each of the next two fiscal years for three projects totaling $10 million each year, as this program requires a 50% match. For fiscal year 2019 the request is for Campbell Road reconstruction, Ft. Eustis Reservoir Bridge, and Oyster Point Access improvements. For fiscal year 2020, the request is for additional funds for Ft. Eustis Reservoir Bridge, Jefferson Avenue Ramp C, and phase II of Hogan Drive Extension.

Water Meter Tampering Fee 
Council adopted an ordinance to institute a $100 fee for tampering with water meters. The fee will apply to those who alter, tamper with, relocate, willfully damage, remove, reactivate or bypass a water meter. Meter tampering fees are common throughout the country and in Virginia. The ordinance is effective November 1, 2017.

Other Actions
All items on last night’s regular City Council meeting agenda were approved, and the entire Council meeting can be viewed on-demand.

Next Meeting
The next regular meeting of the Newport News City Council will be Tuesday, October 24. City Council typically meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 pm in City Council Chambers, City Hall, 2400 Washington Avenue. Meetings are shown live on the City's Cable Channel NNTV (Cox Ch 48/Verizon Ch 19) and are streamed live on City Council meetings are also available to be watched on-demand the day following the meeting. Oftentimes City Council holds work sessions in the 10th floor conference room of City Hall in the afternoon before the regular meetings. Work sessions are open to the public. Agendas for work sessions and regular meetings are available online in the Agenda Center the Friday before the meeting.