Focus on the Route 17 taxing district

Published 12:52 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

Before the completion of the Harbour View and College Drive areas, the city of Suffolk was trying to figure out how it would pay for the debt it acquired completing infrastructure projects in the area.

To help shoulder the burden, the city created a special tax district in 1997 for the area in North Suffolk.

This is a map of the areas covered by the Route 17 taxing district.

While its primary use is to pay off the debt, it has also been used for transportation improvement projects within the district.

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Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts said the tax district has made it possible for the city to complete projects in that area without them competing with other plans.

“Without the taxing district, for these type of projects, we would either wait for development to come on line and it would be paid for in phases,” he said. “Having this dedicated funding source for the district, it’s not competing with other needs.”

Primary use

The revenues generated by the Route 17 special tax district are used by the city mainly to pay for the debt it acquired through transportation improvements made in the district.

Other projects the tax revenue has funded

  • Part of the Burbage Drive road extension
  • Hampton Roads Parkway widening project
  • Addition of traffic signal at the intersection of South Links Circle and Harbour View Boulevard


  • Created in 1997
  • $1.2 million — the average amount the fund generates annually
  • $1.35 million — the amount the city expects from the fund in 2011, a 4 percent decrease from the previous year
  • The special tax rate is 26 cents in addition to base real estate tax of 97 cents

What would happen without it?

Projects for the district would have to be paid for by the city’s capital improvement plan budget and would compete with other projects, such as police buildings and schools. It also might mean the projects would be completed in phases rather than all at one time. With the tax district, the city has a dedicated fund that can be used to get these projects finished.