Ed. — From the Sunday, May 9, print edition.
THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
OCEANFRONT — The reconciliation process for the city’s proposed spending plan resulted in recommended changes that would further lower the proposed property-tax rate, increase pay for city police and provide supplemental pay to some workers with state-funded jobs such as public defenders to address pay disparities.
A big change is lowering the real estate tax rate from $1.0175 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1 per $100. City Manager Patrick Duhaney had proposed a rate reduction of $1.0075 per $100. Mayor Bobby Dyer and Vice Mayor Jim Wood wrote in a reconciliation letter that Virginia Beach is the only city in the region lowering its rate, which is lower than that of its neighbors.
Lowering the rate is not the same as a tax cut due to rising assessments, a point City Councilmember John Moss, who holds an at-large seat, has made. Moss had sought a “revenue neutral tax rate” reduction to $0.9887 per $100. On Tuesday, May 4, Moss said he would not be able to support the budget, and he produced a lengthy response to the reconciliation letter.
And there would be a significant boost in pay for police, raising a 3 percent increase recommended by Duhaney to 8.5 percent to address significant understaffing in the department, as well as issues such as retention.
The new recommendations include an additional 1.5 percent compensation increase for non-public safety workers on top of 3 percent recommended by Duhaney, and it would address concerns about pay parity for public defenders and some court employees.
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