HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Harrisonburg leaders will take the next step in the budget process Tuesday with a public hearing on the city’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The city is proposing a 3-cent property tax increase as part of its ongoing efforts to pay for the construction of Harrisonburg’s second high school. This is part of the city’s plan for an 11 cent tax increase over 3 years to pay for construction.
In last year’s budget, the property tax increased by 4 cents and next year it will increase by another 4 cents. The proposed property tax for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is $0.93 per $100 of assessed value.
“We are also considering a small increase in water and sewer fees for residents, which helps us replace infrastructure and advance capital projects to ensure water arrives when you need it. open in the morning. Some of these pipes have been buried since the 1800s, so we are continually making progress in replacing this infrastructure,” said Mike Parks, director of communications for Harrisonburg.
The city’s proposed budget is $335.8 million, with the largest percentage of funds going to the city’s general fund and the public school system.
The most significant budget increases include a more than $6 million increase in funding for schools and an increase of nearly $4 million in funding for public safety.
“The biggest goal has been to get us back to where we were before the pandemic. We have put a number of things on hold, especially our capital improvement projects that are important to our community, so we want to start working on those again,” Parks said. “We also want to make sure that we invest in our staff to ensure that we have the people needed to deliver the services that our community relies on.”
The proposed budget also includes $12.5 million for capital projects, including a new public works building, water and sewer infrastructure, seven new transit buses, two paratransit buses, four school buses, replacement of a ladder truck, street paving and sidewalk work.
“Over the last couple of years we have had to make a number of cuts due to lower incomes. Specifically the meal tax and accommodation tax as people were not traveling or not weren’t coming to town as much as they would pre-pandemic, so it puts us back in line with where we were headed,” Parks said.
The budget also includes $1.9 million for a general salary increase of 3% for all City employees and an additional 2% increase for public safety personnel.
“We want to make sure that we keep our employees here and are able to recruit new ones in a competitive market to ensure that we can continue to provide these essential services to residents. A cost of living adjustment is a key part of that and hopefully that will help us retain our employees and bring in new ones,” Parks said.
One item that remains to be settled in the budget is the personal property tax. The current rate in the proposal is $3.50 per $100 of assessed value, but this could change.
“We are still discussing personal property taxes, as we see national trends being influenced by the auto market. So we are reviewing those numbers and will have more information before the final budget is approved.
Once approved by the city council, the new budget will come into effect on July 1.
You can read more about the budget proposal here.
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