No tax rate or user fee increases proposed; NNPS request fully funded
The recommended operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2024, was presented to City Council at its work session yesterday evening. Supporting the City's strategic priorities of People, Places, and Government, the total FY 2024 budget recommended by City Manager Cindy Rohlf is $1,109,372,516, which is 5.6% higher than the current year.
"The heart of the recommended budget is the people and the lives that will be changed through our investment of resources," wrote Rohlf in her transmittal memo. "Our goal is to build a better future for every person in Newport News."
Funding for education is the largest single component of the annual operating budget. The recommended budget includes a total of $127,034,294 for Newport News Public Schools. This includes $119,589,307 for school operations, an increase of $3.4 million, and represents full funding of the Interim School Superintendent’s specific request for the upcoming fiscal year. The recommended budget also includes $7,444,987 for debt service for school capital projects, plus a separate annual $2 million in cash capital support from the City for school bus purchases. Additionally, the City Manager is providing $1.5 million in cash capital funds now to support the FY 2024 Schools request for mobile radios, fire and building alarms, security cameras, and additional metal detectors. By allocating these funds in the current fiscal year, these safety enhancements can be operational prior to the start of the next school year.
Real estate tax revenue is the largest single revenue source for the City. This year all property types experienced increases in assessed value. Overall, real estate tax revenue is estimated to increase 9.5% over the prior year, and the recommended budget is based on maintaining the real estate tax rate of $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. There are no user fee increases proposed in the FY 2024 operating budget.
Other highlights of the recommended budget include:
- 5% general wage adjustment for eligible employees, plus additional funds to support ongoing position reviews and reclassifications, and to conduct a wage study;
- expansion of the Department of Human Services' Parents as Teachers Program, to serve 80+ additional families with children experiencing behavioral challenges and emotional disturbances, as well as those who have not had a preschool experience prior to entering kindergarten;
- continued engagement with community-based organizations that are addressing gun violence;
- funding partners that provide accessible healthcare to vulnerable populations and increasing outreach to the homeless community;
- an increase of 27 new positions across various departments including: Human Services, Parks and Recreation, Engineering, Planning, Police, Fire, Security Services, Human Resources, Courts, Communications, and City Manager's Office; and
- fully funding city retirement plans.
City Council's public hearing on the recommended budget is taking place over two days – Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 2400 Washington Avenue, and Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at Denbigh Community Center, 15198 Warwick Boulevard. Comments on the proposed budget can also be submitted to Council by:
The entire recommended budget, including the City Manager’s cover letter and presentation, can be viewed on the Budget Department's website.