In Hampton's "I Value" campaign, residents are asked to give their views, through public meetings and online polling.
I Value lets citizens evaluate the service they are getting versus the services they desire, weighed against the fiscal realities of what they are willing to pay. It has become the way we as a city do business.
Every year, Bunting asks Hampton residents to give their views on the city spending before she builds her proposed budget for City Council. This “I Value” effort started 11 years ago as a way to prioritize budget cuts during the recession and the slow recovery. Bunting had promised to seek public input on new spending priorities whenever that became possible.
Residents will have several opportunities to offer their views on next year's Hampton budget, which is currently being developed. City Manager Mary Bunting seeks input before her recommended budget is developed to ensure it includes the residents' top priorities.
Home values increased about 10% in 2022, and Bunting has pledged to recommend a cut in the tax rate for Fiscal Year 2024. Property taxes are the largest source of funding for city operations, as well as the city's money for school operations. Balancing the amount of a tax rate decrease with projected expenses will be the subject for input. Public Works is seeing increases in city wastewater and stormwater services, which are funded by user fees.
Bunting held an in-person session on Saturday, March 11, at 9 a.m. at Hampton High School. Residents learned about the budget components and proposals and were able to ask questions as well as be a part of a live poll. The city manager held a Facebook Liveeventon March 14 at 7 p.m., another opportunity for questions and comments. Online polling is available through Monday, March 20.
The stormwater fee increase would fund enhanced maintenance of basins, ditches, and underground pipes. That proposal would increase the monthly fee for residents by $1 to $11.83 (from $10.83). Business fees are based on that amount but scaled to their square footage of buildings and pavement. Hampton's rate is currently the lowest of six urban cities in Hampton Roads.
The wastewater fee is proposed to increase by an average 73 cents per month for homeowners, making the bill $19.10 per month (from $18.37). This would cover the increase in costs for general sewer system maintenance. Again, Hampton's current user fees are the lowest among urban cities and lower than some of the surrounding counties.
March 11: Public input meeting at Hampton High School
March 14: Public input meeting on Facebook Live. Watch the recorded event at the link.