Local governments look to make up gaps during COVID-19

Posted at 3:12 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 20:15:44-04

NORFOLK, Va. - During the continued fallout from COVID-19, local governments are working to make up millions of dollars in gaps in their budgets.

Norfolk city leaders project around a $15 million gap in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, ending in June. They've already furloughed part-time workers and made other adjustments.

"This is a particularly difficult shortfall because of the proximity to the end of the fiscal year," Norfolk City Manager Dr. Chip Filer told city council members this week.

With many restaurants shuttered and hotels seeing few visits, local cities are seeing fewer money coming in from taxes. Still, in Norfolk, they say things while aren't great, they're not exactly dire, either. "The city is not in a position where we believe we're going to go bankrupt because of this event," Filer said.

In Virginia Beach, the city has also been hit hard and is expecting a more than $67 million hit to revenues for next year's budget. City council members will continue to talk about the budget during a work session on Thursday.

"Everyone needs relief," said City Councilman John Moss.

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An increase to the real tax tax assessment rate remains on the table. However, City Councilmember Barbara Henley recently noted about 20% of homes saw the property values drop.

The city is also looking at eliminating a proposed raise for city employees and continuing a hiring freeze.

The ongoing turmoil has the attention of leaders in Washington. Sen. Tim Kaine says the federal government needs to look again at chipping in to help. "We need to do more," he said.

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