Newport News council lowers real estate tax rate for first time in 14 years, creates ‘environmental police’ position

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News City Council has signed off on lowering the real estate tax rate for the first time in 14 years.

City Council met Tuesday night and voted unanimously to approve its fiscal year 2023 budget.

The real estate tax rate will drop by 2 cents, providing about $4 million in tax relief to city residents. The rate will now be $1.20 per $100 of assessed property value.

Additionally, the new budget will temporarily lower the personal property tax rate by 25% to counter increased assessed values for used cars, which have gone up by about 33%. Tax relief would total about $16.8 million between the current fiscal year and the first half of fiscal year 2023.

The budget also adds three environmental police officer positions as part of an effort to address blight, illegal dumping and poor lighting. In order to try and keep police officers and the department’s civilian employees on staff, the overnight shift would also start getting pay differential.

The budget fully funds Newport News Public Schools’ budget request, which increases most full-time employees’ salaries and raise starting pay. The average teacher would see a 6.5% increase. The starting salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience will increase, as well as the pay for support staff and bus drivers.