• 91°

Council adopts $698 million budget

Suffolk City Council near-unanimously passed a $698 million fiscal year 2022 budget, but not without many being caught off guard by a last-minute proposal to lower the real estate tax rate.

The budget council adopted May 19 by a 7-0 vote, with Roger Fawcett abstaining, is a 7.2% increase from the current budget, pays for 48 new hires and provides a 2.5% cost of living increase for city staff and fully fund the school division’s request of $196.3 million — $65.3 million of which would come from the city.

Moor’s budget includes 18 new firefighters for Suffolk Fire & Rescue as it prepares to build the College Drive Fire Station, and seven positions for the city’s Parks and Recreation department for the opening of the Bennett’s Creek Recreation Center.

The budget also calls for an additional 22 positions in several city departments.

Fawcett proposed lowering the real estate tax rate from $1.11 per $100 of assessed value to $1.10. With reassessment values up 4.2%, it is an effective rate increase. He cited revenue surpluses coming for the city, along with about 200 properties that have yet to be assessed, the new Amazon fulfillment center’s tax assessment coming in the next several months and the recently announced $30 million in new federal money coming to the city.

His motion was voted down 5-2, with only Councilman Donald Goldberg joining him in support.

This story will be updated.