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City budgets are a lot like family budgets, only bigger. They really boil down to making decisions about what’s most important to you – what you value – and allocating money based on those priorities.

Hampton’s “family” is a lot bigger, more than 130,000 people, and they don’t necessarily agree on what’s most important. Also, most families don’t have quite as many legal requirements to meet as a city does.

Where does the city get money?  Watch this short video below:

Still, a lot of the issues are the same: Spend for quality of life today? Make repairs? Invest now so that you have income in the future?

Manager Mary Bunting has been asking residents what they city services they most value for a decade.

This year represents the biggest growth in property values over that decade. It’s still modest at 1.9%, but it’s expected to provide enough money to meet the top priorities for both city and schools with any increases to the tax rates.

  • What are the top priorities for fiscal year 2020? Watch this short video below: 

But that’s just the city’s general fund. Some city services are paid for with user fees, not taxes. One of those is facing a major shortfall if rates aren’t increased. The questions in this year’s budget input will focus on solid waste services and fees and on stormwater fees and projects.

Hampton offers more services under solid waste than other area localities:

• Weekly refuse collection, burned for steam energy
• Weekly yard waste pickup, turned into mulch
• Weekly bulk trash pickup, taken to dump
• Recycling every 2 weeks
• Unlimited collection of old tires