I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer Friday afternoon. I am relieved to be at this moment in time as opposed to this time last year. So much has happened in just one year. Can one imagine what the next will hold?
Norfolk City Council passed a robust FY 2022 budget in early May. I am happy to report there are no tax rate or fee increases. Below are a few areas I would like to highlight that support what I advocated for when running for Norfolk City Council.
Economic Development/Business Concierge: One of my campaign platforms was to create a Business Navigator position that would make it easier for small, medium, and large businesses to conduct business with the City of Norfolk. While I was campaigning a very common theme was the difficulty in navigating the processes, permits, licenses, zoning, next steps, where do I go for this/that and then what. Good news – the FY22 budget has a Business Concierge position in place and I look forward to this individual (whomever it may be) serving in this capacity. It is important for Norfolk to be business friendly and where businesses want to start, grow and thrive.
Economic Development/Safe Neighborhoods: Neon Art District Streetscape Project: The City has committed $4.9M to fund the implementation of the redesign of the Arts District in the Neon area on Granby Street between Brambleton Avenue and Virginia Beach Blvd. This will further enhance the developing business, entertainment and residential environment. The project should be complete in FY 2024.
Sea-level rise/flooding: Also while campaigning, many flooding problem areas were brought to my attention. Recall a few years ago, the real estate tax was increased by 10 cents. One cent of this increase was dedicated to resilient/flooding issues. One of many projects receiving funding from the resilient penny is the tidal flooding mitigation berm and bulkhead repair project at Cambridge Crescent and Carroll Place (Larchmont neighborhood) that has nuisance flooding on sunny days and extreme flooding on heavy rain days. The $1.5M project has been a collaboration between the surrounding residents and the city to find a solution.
Safety: While there is a 3% salary increase for General, Constitutional Officer, and Sworn Police and Fire Employees beginning July 1, 2021, there is additional compensation for the following:
◦ Public Safety Telecommunications (911 operators) on average an increase of 6.7%;
◦ Police Officers on average an increase of 8%; and
◦ Sworn Sheriff’s Deputies on average of 5%
May was a month of zoom civic league and task force meetings. Some neighborhoods are meeting in person in open outdoor spaces now that restrictions have relaxed slightly. It is wonderful seeing people and smiles again.
I wish you well for a healthy June. I encourage all to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. I have enjoyed running and biking in warmer weather. I hope to see you and your smile around Norfolk soon.
Grady in “his” chair
Freemason Street Area Association meeting at the Pagoda
Larchmont Edgewater Civic League Meeting
Scooter and Bike Corrals Downtown