Budget tops council agenda

Published 9:57 pm Monday, April 18, 2011

A Suffolk City Council meeting Wednesday will feature a public hearing on the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers, 441 Market St. A work session is planned for 4 p.m.

The public hearing on the $532 million budget is expected to attract a number of speakers after a public input session last month drew two dozen people to the podium.

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The city proposes a 6-cent tax increase, along with higher water and sewer rates and a new fee for trash and curbside recycling. The budget provides for no layoffs, furloughs or raises for city employees, but calls for hiring new firefighters and building a new municipal building to replace the current dilapidated city hall.

The plan also allocates less money to the public school system, which caused the School Board this month to vote to close Robertson and Mount Zion elementary schools. A cut to public transportation also is proposed in the budget, with city management proposing to do away with membership in Hampton Roads Transit and investigate alternative services.

At last month’s public input session, residents overwhelmingly called for taxes to stay level.

Also at the regular meeting, there will be public hearings on the 2011- 2012 action plan for the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Grant and on a proposed preschool facility at Ebenezer United Methodist Church.

Other business at the regular meeting will include amendments to the service agreements between the Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority and its member jurisdictions.

At the earlier work session, Council members will hear an in-depth presentation on HRT and other public transit services that could be offered.