On March 15, the Norfolk Division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting with Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones regarding the city’s spending priorities. Norfolk is facing a $32 million budget shortfall. The meeting, attended by nearly 50 Chamber members, provided an opportunity for business leaders to learn more about the city’s budget and dialogue with Jones.
Jones explained the challenges the city is facing. He told the group, “Funds are drying up at the state level. We are asking you to help us close this gap.” He added, “We are focused on not just 2012, but 2013.”
“Real estate makes up 25% of the city’s revenue,” Jones said. He went on to explain that in FY 2011, real estate assessments overall fell 3.1%, which is the first decline since 1995.
In addition, one-time revenue sources of $8.5 million that were available for FY 2011, are not available in FY 2012.
After hearing from Jones, attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm. Priorities identified among the groups included education, public safety, economic development, attracting new businesses, transportation, community services, and employment opportunities.
Jones has already held four public meetings on the budget. Jones and city officials will take the input they receive and in late March create a wrap-up reporting the results.