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Tax, budget plans revealed

This little ditty from an ad on page C5 of this morning’s Norfolk newspaper. The ad was not placed in the News-Herald, so, as a free public service to the more than 60 percent of Suffolk households that don’t receive the Norfolk paper, here it is:

“City of Suffolk

Public Hearing on

Proposed Real Property Tax Increase

“The City Council of the City of Suffolk will conduct a public hearing on the Proposed Real Property Tax Increase for fiscal year 2006-07, which commences on July 1, 2006 and ends on June 30, 2007, the public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 19, 2006. The public hearing will be conducted in the Council Chambers, Second Floor, Municipal Center, 441 Market Street, Suffolk, Virginia. Any citizen of the City shall have the right to attend and state his/her views on the following proposed increase to real property tax levies.”

(Here’s the good part.)

“1. Assessment Increase: Total assessed value of real property, excluding additional assessment due to new construction or improvements to property, exceeds last year’s total assessed value of real property city-wide by 26.4 percent.

“2. Lowered Rate Necessary to offset Increased Assessment: THE TAX RATE WHICH WOULD LEVY THE SAME AMOUNT OF REAL ESTATE TAX AS LAST YEAR, WHEN MULTIPLLIED BY THE NEW TOTAL ASSESSED VALUE OF REAL ESTATE WITH THE EXCLUSTIONS MENTIONED ABOVE, WOULD BE $.85 (The emphasis is mine. What it basically means is that for the tax rate to be revenue neutral for the city, no more or less than last year, the rate would have to be reduced by 21 cents). The rate will be known as the “lowered tax rate.

“3. Effect Rate Increase: The City of Suffolk, Virginia proposes to adopt a tax rate of $1.06 city-wide. The final determination of the tax rate will be considered by City Council through the Fiscal Year 2006-2007 Annual Operating Budget process. The difference between the lowered tax rate and the proposed rate would be $.21 or 24.7 percent, OUCH! (The “ouch” was mine; it wasn’t really in the ad, but since I’m doing this for free, I figure I have some license) The difference will be known as the “effective tax rate increase.” Individual property taxes may, however, increase at the percentage greater or less than the above percentage.

4. Proposed Total Budget Increase: Based on the proposed real property tax rate and changes in other revenues, the total budget of the city of Suffolk will exceed last year’s by an estimate of 20 percent. This estimate includes the addition of two new funds, the Road Maintenance Fund and the Stormwater Utility Fund, to the annual operating budget. Excluding those new funds, the estimated increase over last year’s budget is 13 percent.

“Any person desiring to be heard in favor, opposition to, or to express his/her view with respect to the Proposed Real Property Tax Increase may appear before and be heard by said City Council of the City of Suffolk on Wednesday, APRIL 19, 2006 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Second Floor, Municipal Center, 441 market Street, Suffolk, Virginia. The above shall not be applicable to the assessment of Public Service Corporation property by the State Corporation Commission.

Any person whose participation in this meeting would require accommodation of a disability should contact Erika Jenkins, City Clerk, at 923-2389.”