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New taxes, fees coming

Published 9:09pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Suffolk residents will see increased taxes and fees beginning July 1 on real estate, water and sewer, and a number of city programs and services.

More than half of the city’s revenue comes from local taxes and fees, with the other 46 percent coming from state, federal and other sources.

The city increased the real estate tax rate by six cents in the budget process, with the new rate standing at $1.03 per $100 of assessed value.

The owner of the average residential property in Suffolk, valued at $190,350, will owe $115 more this year than if the city had not increased the tax rate.

City officials have said the increase was needed to avoid additional cuts of $5.4 million from the budget, which already delayed capital projects, froze positions and made other cuts.

The water and sewer rates also are rising about 10 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, to $7.84 per ccf for water and $5.82 per ccf for sewer. City Chief of Staff Debbie George said the average customer uses 13 ccf (1 ccf is a measurement equaling 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons) for both services combined every 60 days.

The Parks and Recreation Department will increase the rental fees at Planters Club and has instituted a $10 annual membership fee for the new dog park being installed at Lake Meade.

Costs for aviators at the Suffolk Executive Airport are going up. An overnight T-hangar rental will now cost $35, up from $0 previously. The mark-up on fuel sales also is rising to 30 percent of the average for all prices.

Organizations that request public safety officials to be on site at their events also will pay new fees to have equipment and personnel present. They range from $30 an hour for an ambulance to $125 an hour for a ladder truck, as well as $25 per hour, per person for a firefighter and $35 per hour, per person for a supervisor.

But some costs are going down. The Parks and Recreation Department has dropped the $200 fee per team for participation in teen basketball.

In addition, the treasurer’s office has instituted a new credit card convenience fee scale that will be a savings at most levels. Payments up to $144 will now require a $3.95 fee, and anything above that will be 2.75 percent of the payment amount. The fee previously ranged from $3 to $30, depending on how much was being paid, up to $1,000. Above that, a fee of 3 percent was charged for up to $10,000, and above that was 2.5 percent of the payment amount.

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  • Lovebug

    Sweet not only are our real estate taxes going up and our already high water bill but now we will be charged to come in and actually PAY our taxes! How can that be legal? It plucks my last nerve to know that in order to PAY my bill via a way they offer they want to charge a fee for it. NO THANK YOU!

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  • Roger Leonard

    Well, you will get many more chances to discuss this, because this will not be the last increase for your water and sewer bills. Many more are planned to pay for “BAD PLANNING” in the past…

    Don’t leaders, lead the planning? Just asking…

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  • colleeng72

    ugh. I just about choked at my last water bill. I know we do not use that much water….$350 for a family of 4. 10 percent seems rather high to go up….

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  • thekytikat

    Where were all of you last January – May? The Suffolk Tea Party fought all of this tooth and nail. Are you all aware that the city wanted to raise our property taxes by as much as .21 cents per $100? It was because the Suffolk Tea Party (consisting of only a small handful of citizens) put up a fuss that the amount of new tax was reduced.

    The budget battle doesn’t start in April. It’s on-going. The city is planning to take on 57 million dollars in NEW debt by way of bond sales in order to pay for the Capital Improvements Projects — which means the bulk of the cash is going to fund that new City Hall being built by Armada Hoffler, a development company with a reputation for low-balling the job initially to get it, then cost several thousands over budget before the job is done.

    Where were ya’ll? Our next meeting is July 16th. I’d love to see you all there.

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  • kimmie575

    I would love to see the formula Ms. George used to come up with that water and sewage usage number. According to her calculations the average Suffolk citizen uses only 12.4 gallons of water a day for water and sewage? According to the USGA (U.S. Geological Survey)the average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons a day. As usual, Suffolk City Hall has no idea what is actually happening in the City, and what it’s citizens need.

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  • hambone

    This will only get worst due to our bad leaders who make sure there pay checks are covered while rest of citizens suffer. I myself and others will be moving out Suffolk when we retire soon. I’m not going let our bad leaders take my retirement too. If Suffolk citizens don’t elect new leaders this city will be worst in Hampton roads in 10 years. So I would like to thing our bad leaders for making me move after I retire because I can’t afford to live here and don’t want pay for our bad leaders huge retirement checks. It’s bad time to live in Suffolk.

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  • TheGuyNextDorr

    All this to pay for raises in City Hall. Change the city motto from It’s a Good Time to be in Suffolk to It’s a Good Time to leave Suffolk. Ridiculous…..we have nothing in Suffolk that warrants these increases. Required to go to other cities to spend what little money we do have.

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  • Roger Leonard

    Not new news here. As we all know, our present leadership is not interested in making Suffolk affordable, just a nice place to live with the highest paid staff (City Manager) in the area and going for the highest taxes for what we get, in the area!!!

    This will not change until we get new leadership and new management on Market Street. Perhaps such can be timed to coincide with the opening of the “Taj-Ma-Hall Southwest”, or as those who spend our money call it: the New City Hall… Suffolk deserves better, but seems intent to shoot our collective-selves in the foot at the ballot box every two years. If this is to change, the people must change who seats in those eight big seats up front, driving the bus over the cliff… We will soon have another election, will you support the same old crowd, and expect a different result than that what you now see? Einstein stated, that to do so was the height of insanity… I strongly agree!

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  • matman91

    totally agree with the other comment……Water & Sewer Bills have been crazy since the changing of billing about 1 1/2 years ago. The combined the bills and tried to make them more confusing to people and in return had already raised the rates. Oh yeah, not to mention the fact that we are being MANDATORY BILLED for Recycling. If the people don’t soon speak up and do something when we have elections then you deserve to have this kind of crap go on….just like the pay raises behind closed doors for the City Manager and other Senior People. When are you going to put money toward the EDUCATION in this CITY ????? START PAYING TEACHERS AND LESS FOR CITY GOVERNMENT !!!!

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  • jhuxster

    Insult to injury. Our already ridiculously high water bills continue to go higher, higher, higher. This city council wouldn’t know how to spend money wisely if you gave them a manual that told what to buy. I wonder if Parr. Duman and others on the council were as generous with their money for their employees as they are with ours? Oh, well there’s one think we can be thankful about–we now have the highest paid city manager in the area based upon the population she supposedly serves.

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  • blueberry

    Great, because we aren’t broke enough already!

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