News Column

Chesapeake council approves $923.7 million budget

May 13, 2014

By Jeff Sheler, The Virginian-Pilot



May 14--CHESAPEAKE -- The City Council on Tuesday approved a $923.7 million budget for next fiscal year that holds the line on taxes, gives city employees a 3 percent raise and provides schools $176.1 million, $3.2 million more than last year.

The council adopted the plan by a unanimous vote and without comment after a brief public hearing with no one voicing opposition.

The spending blueprint is 1.8 percent more than last year's budget and reflects an expected $14.8 million increase in revenue -- a result of what city leaders described as slow improvements in the economy.

It maintains the real estate tax rate of $1.05 per $100 of assessed value. That rate has been in effect since 2007.

It also calls for no new fees, but raises water and sewer rates by 4.9 percent effective July 1.

It is the second of five approved increases to pay for new and upgraded equipment and other rising expenses.

City Manager James Baker has called the 3 percent pay increase for the city's 3,136 full-time employees "the first real pay raise" since 2008. It will cost the city $4.5 million next year.

City workers received a 2 percent raise last year to cover state-mandated contributions to the Virginia Retirement System and an additional 1.6 percent raise in January.

Police and fire personnel will get an additional bump in pay, a one-time salary adjustment ranging from a few dollars to several thousand, to get rid of what Baker described as "pay inequities" in the departments. That will cost $800,000.

The plan also adds 36 full-time positions at a cost of $2.1 million.

Teachers and other school employees, meanwhile, stand to get a 2 percent raise under the division's budget, which is set for a School Board vote May 22.

Jeff Sheler, 757-222-5207, jeff.sheler@pilotonline.com

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(c)2014 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

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Source: Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)


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