News Column

Norfolk votes to renew special downtown tax

May 20, 2014

By Patrick Wilson, The Virginian-Pilot



May 21--NORFOLK -- The City Council voted Tuesday to renew a special tax that funds the Downtown Norfolk Council and its projects.

The tax is 16 cents per $100 on assessed real estate downtown, in addition to the city's property tax of $1.15 per $100 of assessed value. The City Council voted to renew the downtown tax through June 30, 2019.

Fifteen cents of the tax goes to the nonprofit corporation -- providing its main source of revenue -- while the city retains a penny for arts projects.

"We're working for the property owners that are contributing into this improvement district," said Mary Miller, the Downtown Norfolk Council's president and CEO. "We try to be responsive to their needs."

The tax generated more than $1.5 million in the current fiscal year, according to the Downtown Norfolk Council's operating budget. The tax is expected to generate more than $1.6 million in fiscal 2015, the bulk of the council's nearly $2 million budget.

The Downtown Norfolk Council is required to submit quarterly financial reports to the city and keep records of all tax money received and spent. The council is involved in nearly all aspects of downtown development and planning, including parking and lighting, public safety, and promoting the new Downtown Arts & Design District.

The council coordinates cleaning and grass-cutting, oversees the downtown ambassador concierge program and a free ride program and promotes events such as First Fridays and Restaurant Week.

The council has a 30-member board of directors and 25 full-time employees.

Patrick Wilson, 757-222-3893, patrick.wilson@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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