Virginia Beach City Council Votes to Adopt Revised FY25 Budget

The Virginia Beach City Council adopted the revised FY 2024-25 Budget and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) on May 14 by a vote of 10 to 1.

The approved Operating Budget decreases the real estate tax rate from 99 cents per $100 of assessed value to 97 cents, remaining the lowest in the seven cities of the Hampton Road area. The 2-cent reduction in the real estate tax rate will help offset the rising real estate assessments for Virginia Beach property owners, so that they remain near the 5% historical average growth.

The total Operating Budget of $2,639,382,734 represents a 2.98% increase over last year. Following the presentation of City Manager Patrick Duhaney’s proposed FY25 budget on March 19, the Council heard briefings from each City department and feedback from the community through multiple online channels as well as two public hearings. In response, the City Council recommended changes, which were incorporated into the reconciled budget.

The approved Operating Budget includes:

  • Increasing the Waste Collection Fee by $3.05 monthly for those who get curbside service to cover the additional costs of recycling.
  • Adding 30 full-time equivalent positions and associated equipment to the Fire Department to help alleviate staffing shortages that have caused overtime and extended working hours.
  • Redirecting 20% of the amusement tax from the Tourism Investment Program (TIP) Fund to the General Fund to support arts and culture. The amount of $1,613,524 will remain in a dedicated reserve until the Department of Cultural Affairs, in coordination with the City Manager’s Office, develops a comprehensive plan for using the funding to be presented to City Council.
  • Reducing the staff for the City and Schools by a net of 24.55 full-time equivalent positions, many of which were long-term vacancies.
  • Increasing the pay for all positions in the City by about 3.5% and creating a dedicated reserve within the General Fund for the City to conduct an updated market salary survey to ensure that the City remains competitive in hiring.
  • Increasing one-time, non-departmental regional grants to various organizations to support youth sports, Juneteenth festival, Pride at the Beach Festival, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the Virginia African American Cultural Center.
  • Increasing the community organization grant program to $750,000. The Community Organization Grant (COG) program provides an opportunity for qualified nonprofit organizations that deliver services to Virginia Beach residents to receive funding from the City. The City Council-appointed COG Review and Allocation Committee evaluates applications and determines how best to allocate funds among the organizations.
  • Adding funding to some departments’ operating budgets, including $353,012 to Parks and Recreation to expand the Parks After Dark program at Williams Farm and adding 3.1 positions to coordinate this program in Green Run in summer 2025; and $60,000 to the Planning Department to provide funding for the VA250 Commission, a state-appointed commission to commemorate the American Revolution.
  • Amending sections of the City Code to create a grace period for penalties and interest on delinquent tax payments.

The budget also requires that Duhaney develop several plans and recommendations for Council to consider before creating the FY 2025-26 budget. This will require multi-departmental work over the next several months. These plans include creating:

  • Options for diversifying the tax base
  • A long-term affordable way to purchase volunteer rescue ambulances
  • Cost options for the Interfacility Traffic Area (ITA) master plan
  • A tree mitigation plan

Capital Improvement Program

The City Council approved the appropriation of $418,531,838 for the FY 2024-25 CIP budget. It included:

  • Additional funding to previously delayed/deferred roadway projects
  • Transferring $1 million in existing appropriations from the Southern Rivers Watershed Site Acquisition project to the Indian River Road Safety Improvements project to assist Public Works in the initial design of roadway improvements.
  • Funding for Rudee Loop Park Development, $60 million supported by the Tourism Investment Program (TIP) Fund.
  • Adding $220,000 for additional placemaking signs for historically African American communities in the City and $30,000 for signs within the Princess Anne Plaza neighborhood.
  • Adding$150,000 for preliminary design for a sidewalk on the eastern side of Woodstock Road.
  • Also, Public Works obtained over $33 million in additional state and federal funding for various flood protection and roadway projects since the time of the proposed budget.