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Council to hold public hearing on budget

Suffolk City Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the proposed 2019-2020 budget.

The proposed $639.4 million budget fully funds the school division’s request, provides a 2.5-percent raise to city employees and does not raise real estate taxes.

The real estate tax rate will stay at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, though it projects general fund revenue to go up by $5.8 million — from $213.2 million to $219 million.

The school division has requested $60.8 million from the city, a 2-percent increase from the current amount.

During the public hearing, City Council will also receive comment on several proposed ordinances related to the budget, including one that would adopt the real estate tax rate of $1.11 per $100 of assessed value.

Though the rate is unchanged, because reassessment values increased by 1.17 percent, City Council has to hold a public hearing due to an “effective tax rate increase.” State law requires this if reassessments rise by more than 1 percent across the city, according to Finance Director Tealen Hansen.

The proposed budget has an additional $3.6 million in general fund money for personnel and benefits to provide for city employees’ cost-of-living adjustment and the addition of 24 new general fund positions, including 13 new police officer/emergency communications positions, and would address part-time and overtime requirements for public safety.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson and Councilman Mike Duman spoke favorably about the budget after it was introduced.

During the work session, City Council will also get an update on the most recently completed quarter at the Suffolk Executive Airport as well as an update on economic development activity.

The work session begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, and its regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 442 W. Washington St.