Virginia Beach says storm cleanup budget is on target as height of hurricane season approaches

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 25, 2014

Virginia Beach, Va. - The City of Virginia Beach has had quite a year so far.  From a tornado that ripped through the Oceanfront and a brush from Hurricane Arthur to flooding rain and snow that would not stop falling - weather events that have all come with a price tag.

"The weather here in Virginia Beach has been the worst I've seen it in 15 years," said Daniel Searson, a resident of Virginia Beach.

But with all the weather we've had, and many more months to go, does the city have enough money for more cleanup as we approach the height of hurricane season and beyond?  NewsChannel 3 took action to find out.

"Quite frankly, we are in very good shape right now because our budget is on a July 1 to June 30 basis.  So, all of the snow events we had earlier this year were in last year's fiscal budget," said Phil Davenport, Director of Public Works for the City of Virginia Beach.

Davenport says money was spent to account for overtime and debris disposal after an EF-0 tornado struck the resort city Thursday, July 10, 2014.  But so far, the city has been lucky.

"We generally budget money every year to take care of storms. Occasionally we'll get a storm that's of such signficance that it requires some extra money that is not necessarily budgeted," said Davenport.

In that case, the city would tap into the City Reserve Fund or get assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) but not from taxpayers.

Officials say if we were to have another big storm event in Virginia Beach, the city would likely be okay.  And some folks NewsChannel 3 talked to say they hope that's the case, to help businesses and residents around the area.

"I think it's been a bad year. And I don't know how Virginia Beach is going to fair out in the end, but personally, I hope they do well because this is our economy.  And this is our city and we have a great city," said Searson.

A city whose storm budget is right on target for now.

"If we ever got the really big hurricane event, like a Category 3, or 4, or 5, then I don't think we could have enough money in our budget to take care of that. And we would be, at that point, just like New Orleans was and like Florida has been on several occasions, we would become the victim state," said Davenport.  "If we get a really big event, we may have to look for something else, but we would not be going back to the taxpayers to look for that. We would be looking for ways to cut things that we're doing and make up the difference that way."