New taxes, fees coming

Published 9:09 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Suffolk residents will see increased taxes and fees beginning July 1 on real estate, water and sewer, and a number of city programs and services.

More than half of the city’s revenue comes from local taxes and fees, with the other 46 percent coming from state, federal and other sources.

The city increased the real estate tax rate by six cents in the budget process, with the new rate standing at $1.03 per $100 of assessed value.

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The owner of the average residential property in Suffolk, valued at $190,350, will owe $115 more this year than if the city had not increased the tax rate.

City officials have said the increase was needed to avoid additional cuts of $5.4 million from the budget, which already delayed capital projects, froze positions and made other cuts.

The water and sewer rates also are rising about 10 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, to $7.84 per ccf for water and $5.82 per ccf for sewer. City Chief of Staff Debbie George said the average customer uses 13 ccf (1 ccf is a measurement equaling 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons) for both services combined every 60 days.

The Parks and Recreation Department will increase the rental fees at Planters Club and has instituted a $10 annual membership fee for the new dog park being installed at Lake Meade.

Costs for aviators at the Suffolk Executive Airport are going up. An overnight T-hangar rental will now cost $35, up from $0 previously. The mark-up on fuel sales also is rising to 30 percent of the average for all prices.

Organizations that request public safety officials to be on site at their events also will pay new fees to have equipment and personnel present. They range from $30 an hour for an ambulance to $125 an hour for a ladder truck, as well as $25 per hour, per person for a firefighter and $35 per hour, per person for a supervisor.

But some costs are going down. The Parks and Recreation Department has dropped the $200 fee per team for participation in teen basketball.

In addition, the treasurer’s office has instituted a new credit card convenience fee scale that will be a savings at most levels. Payments up to $144 will now require a $3.95 fee, and anything above that will be 2.75 percent of the payment amount. The fee previously ranged from $3 to $30, depending on how much was being paid, up to $1,000. Above that, a fee of 3 percent was charged for up to $10,000, and above that was 2.5 percent of the payment amount.