City manager's FY 2021 budget; governor extends closings
April 15, 2020 - City Manager Mary Bunting Wednesday unveiled her recommended budget for fiscal year 2021, knowing that it will change because of the ongoing pandemic. Also Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam said his order closing non-essential businesses such as barbershops and hair salons, has been extended for two weeks, until May 8.
Northam emphasized to need to continue social distancing, and said the stay-at-home order for residents will remain in place until June 10. He also said the state will provide more money to help child-care centers, especially for the families of essential workers.
Hampton's recommended budget for FY 2021 adds new spending in many areas in both capital and operating expenses. Most of that spending will be delayed until after businesses and revenues improve. The city fiscal year begins July 1, 2020.
"When we started the process of developing our Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, we were on track to experience the best revenue growth since before the Great Recession," Bunting said in her budget message. "The world changed in mid-March, when the federal and state governments began serious efforts to control the spread of the virus."
The spending plan totals $516,875,291, a 5.88% increase from the FY 2020 budget. Of this amount, the city’s portion is $287,757,222, or 55.7% (which includes all city and school capital expenditures, and transfer payments that the city collects and disburses on behalf of other entities). The school’s portion is $229,118,069, or 44.3%.
According to the Manager’s Message, "Our top budget priority in FY21 will be maintaining existing service levels by keeping our workforce employed and avoiding any adverse impacts on our staff like furloughs as much as possible."
More than 300 residents offered input to the budget in the I Value comment period, even though in-person meetings were curtailed. Residents offered their priorities as well. Their top priorities were: Increased police; the resilience programs for youth; enhanced school maintenance; and accelerated staff compensation. You can view that input here. You can also go online to see the complete manager's message and recommended budget.
Latest numbers on COVID-19 in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Health reported Wednesday that there have been 6,500 cases of COVID-19, 1,048 people hospitalized and 195 deaths in the state. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association said 802 people were currently hospitalized with the virus and 496 people were receiving inpatient hospital care while their COVID-19 test results are pending.
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