The City of Poquoson is currently in the budget process for the FY 2018 – 2019 budget, which runs from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019. I thought I’d provide some key information contained in the current budget along with some explanations and links for those who would like more in depth information. City of Poquoson Proposed FY2018-2019 Budget There is also a copy of the City budget available in the library and at city hall. Poquoson City Public Schools Budgets
- Proposed Real Estate Tax Rate increase from $1.07 to $1.14 per $100 of assessed value
- City employee pay increase of 2%
- No additional local government support requested by school division
- Teacher pay increase of 2% and complete final phase of the 3 year teacher pay plan update
- Addition of 3 new teaching positions
- No new city staff positions, although there is money set aside for school safety recommendations from the School Safety Committee, which may include a School Resource officer, which would be a police department position
- Debt Service of $23 million to cover capital improvements
What does the proposed tax increase mean for citizens? The average home price in Poquoson is $322,800. For a home this price it is a $226 per year/$18.83 per month increase in real estate tax. Tax Rate increase by home value chart
As a reference here are the tax rates for other local cities: Portsmouth $1.30, Hampton $1.24, Newport News $1.22, Norfolk $1.15, Suffolk $1.07, Chesapeake $1.05, Virginia Beach $1.00 (with special districts from $1.05 – $1.47), Franklin $.99 (downtown tax district $1.23), Williamsburg $.57 (doesn’t include operation of a school system and has high tourism). It is important to note that indeed York County’s tax rate of $.0795 is much lower. However, they are a large county and even if Poquoson filled every business and developed every piece of land currently available, our tax rate will never be as low as York County. You can’t compare city to county tax rates. That is like comparing apples and oranges.
The reason for $.06 of the tax increase is to cover the $23 million debt service that will pay for much needed capital improvement projects in the city. $.01 cent of the tax increase was specifically for the citizen requested school safety initiatives, which may include a school safety officer. During the recession years and years the city did not increase the tax rate, equipment was not replaced and is now reaching the end of its life span and must be replaced in order for the city to continue to function. Items needed (but not all covered by $23M) are: Middle school renovation (largest cost at estimated $15.94M – School Consolidation/Renovation Information), roof replacement at all schools, new police department building, Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements, bus replacements, fire engine & medic vehicle replacement, loader, grader, excavators, dump trucks, dozier, city hall HVAC, police dept HVAC, sidewalks, ball field lights, parking lot replacements. What the $23M WILL cover is: middle school renovation, school buses, remainder of city hall HVAC replacement, remainder of funds needed for 1 fire engine, TMDL requirements, roof replacement PMS & PHS, and remaining $2.5M for other needed projects from the list above, to be determined at a later date.
The City Manager did a budget presentation and Davenport & Company did a presentation on the $23M debt service at our April 9th city council work session. They outlined the borrowing and why the $23M was the optimal amount to borrow and why doing a one time tax increase is the most financially beneficial method in the long run for taxpayers. Meeting City Council Work Session 4/19/18 – City Budget & Davenport Presentation