VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach city staff is proposing a 2.3-cent increase in the city's real estate tax in the budget for the next fiscal year.
The average homeowner in the city would pay an estimated $5,030 in taxes, a $374 increase compared with this year if the city council adopts the proposed budget, according to Kevin Chatellier, the director of the city's budget and management services department.
The increase would bump the real estate tax from 99 cents to $1.013 per $100 of assessed value, which Chatellier says would still be the lowest in the Hampton Roads region.
Last year, voters in the city approved a referendum to increase the city's real estate tax by at least 4.3 cents to help pay for flooding protection in the city. Chatellier says due to the rising value of properties, the increase needed now is 4.1 cents.
The budget is proposing a 2.3-cent increase along with redirecting 1.8 cents from increased property assessment values to cover the cost of the flooding protection program.
Due to the rising assessed value of property, Chatellier says a 91 cent real estate tax rate would actually keep taxes about where they are now in the city.
City Councilman John Moss, who's been known to question the city's tax plans over the years, called the proposal "cruel."
"Families can't afford to pay that additional tax - plain and simple," Moss said, adding he believes the city can funding the flooding projects at the 91-cent tax rate. "We have plenty of cash to reallocate if we make much simpler decisions than any family is now making."
Mayor Bobby Dyer said the discussions are in the early stages.
"At this point, let's have an open mind and see what we can do and see if we can be creative," Dyer said.
Residents will have several chances to weigh in on the proposal, including a public hearing at the Convention Center on April 20 and another one at the city council chambers on April 26.
City council members are scheduled to vote on the budget on May 10.
Earlier this month, city council members voted unanimously to lower the personal property tax on cars. Used car values have soared, meaning people would've had to pay significantly more in property taxes.