City plans bonuses

Published 10:25 pm Monday, June 13, 2011

Suffolk hopes to pay bonuses for city and school employees and save money for capital expenses with part of a projected $4.1 million surplus from the current fiscal year.

A vote on the budget amendments is one item on the agenda for Wednesday’s City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in Council chambers, 441 Market St. A work session will begin at 3 p.m.

About half the money already was used to help balance the coming year’s budget, said Anne Seward, director of Budget and Strategic Planning for the city.

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The unexpected windfall came from a surge in meals, business license and sales taxes, Seward said. New businesses in the city that opened in recent months, such as T.J. Maxx and PetSmart, were partly responsible, she said.

“There’s definitely been a revenue jump,” she said. “It’s tied to having those retail and restaurant opportunities.”

When putting together the budget for fiscal year 2011-2012, Seward already had projected a surplus of about $2.1 million, she said. That revenue was already worked into the budget.

Of the projected surplus, city staff recommends transferring about $2.1 million to the school system for its use in awarding bonuses to its employees.

About $1.3 million is proposed to use for bonuses for city employees. Another $700,000 will be placed in a capital contingency fund.

A story in Friday’s Suffolk News-Herald quoted Fitch Ratings as saying the surplus would be used to pay off an economic development note. While the payoff of the debt also is on Wednesday’s agenda, the two are separate issues. The ratings agency apparently conflated the two items by mistake.

Other items on the agenda include four public hearings and some project updates.

The public hearings involve conditional use permits for a church on Philhower Drive, a borrow pit on Copeland Road, an auto repair shop on West Washington Street and a pawn shop on North Main Street.

The project updates include the Nansemond Parkway construction and a Chesapeake Bay study.

In the work session, City Council will get an update on the refuse enterprise implementation and get an overview of Freedom of Information Act requirements pertaining to emails from constituents.