Council to talk budget, flu

Published 9:36 pm Monday, May 4, 2009

Suffolk City Council will be busy on Wednesday, with work session and meeting agendas that include adopting the 2009-2010 budget, holding a public hearing for a proposed tax increase for the Route 17 special taxing district and getting an update on the swine-origin influenza virus.

During the work session, City Council will receive an update from Western Tidewater Health District Director Lisa McCoy on the flu outbreak, Suffolk’s local response plans and guidance for residents on how to mitigate the spread of the illness.

Also during the work session, council will receive updates on the mosquito control and false alarm reduction programs.

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During the regular meeting, council will hear from the public on a property tax increase for the Route 17 special taxing district. The tax rate in the district will rise to $1.17 per $100 of assessed value, which includes the 91-cent citywide rate and the special district rate of 26 cents. The rate increase is included in the proposed budget, which is also on the night’s agenda for adoption.

The city’s spending plan for the upcoming year holds the real estate tax rate and jobs steady, but reduces minor employee benefits and cuts funding to some nonprofit organizations. It also does not call for pay increases for any city staff. The budget relies on increased water and sewer rates, as well as new fees for bulk refuse collection. If the budget is passed as is, residents will pay $20 to dispose of up to eight cubic yards of material, and $50 for nine to 16 cubic yards of material.

Several residents came to last month’s public hearing to protest both the utility rates and bulk refuse fees. City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn, however, said the bulk refuse fees would help save more than a dozen city positions.

Council also will hold a public hearing on the sale of the former American Legion building, located at 350 N. Main St.

The work session will begin at 3:30 p.m. in City Council chambers, 441 Market St. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m