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Budget to be introduced during electronic meeting

City Manager Patrick Roberts will unveil his proposed budget for the next fiscal year during Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting.

The meeting will take place at 2 p.m. and will be aired live on the Suffolk Municipal Channel (Spectrum Channel 190) and will also be livestreamed at www.suffolkva.us/tv.

With both Roberts and Gov. Ralph Northam having declared states of emergency, council voted at its last emergency meeting to give itself the ability to conduct meetings virtually. Council members will participate electronically from other city facilities, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink. Wednesday’s meeting will not include a work session.

The city’s current budget is $639.4 million, which includes a general fund budget of just more than $219 million.

Roberts said previously that it was not yet clear what parts of the budget could be impacted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and developments at the state and federal levels.

The city is tracking its expenses related to the coronavirus for future planning purposes, and for the possibility of the federal government reimbursing localities for expenses related to the outbreak.

Roberts said the city is watching the possibility of revenue being impacted “very closely,” as its operating budget has to balance. He said that would be taken into account when he presents the budget to council Wednesday.

The School Board passed the school division’s nearly $183 million proposed budget 6-0 last month, with Tyron Riddick absent from its virtual meeting. In that budget, the city’s appropriation would be about $64.8 million, while it would include nearly $95.6 million in state money and about $1.1 million in federal money.

The council will also hear a motion to schedule a public hearing on the budget for May 6, and another public hearing May 20 to receive public comment on the citywide effective real estate tax increase due to a reassessment increase of 1.87 percent.

Council is also expected to vote on a motion to adopt the 2020 edition of the city’s revised emergency operations plan, which was originally adopted in 2015.

It is also expected to hear a motion to schedule a public hearing for May 6 on the proposed fiscal year 2020-2025 consolidated plan and the 2020-2021 annual action plan for the city’s Community Development Block Grant Program and the Western Tidewater Home Consortium HOME Investment Partnership Grant Program.