I hope you are enjoying your start of summer! Memorial Day Weekend was beautiful and Norfolk was full of activity. For the first time Norfolk hosted the Patriotic Festival and I want to thank the countless individuals from public safety to event organizers to the Board of the Patriotic Festival for their thoughtful planning. It took a village to make this a success and safe for all.
Norfolk City Council passed an FY 2023 $1.7 billion budget in early May that goes into effect July 1, 2022. Highlights include the following:
• $70 million in matching funds for the Downtown Floodwall project
• $50 million for a new Norfolk Fitness & Wellness Center
• $150,000 to the Elizabeth River Trail for operating support
• Capital Improvement Program includes a new $750 million school construction initiative starting with funding the construction of Maury High School at $150 million
• $5 million to transform Northside Park
• 5% increase for all employees
• New paid family leave – 6 weeks of paid leave for baby bonding time and for staff with special care needs for family members
• Increase in city minimum wage – $18/hour for permanent employees; $15/hour for temporary employees
• Public safety employees will receive an added step increase (if in the system over 6 years), which would get public safety a nearly 10% increase this year alone
• Implement Master Police Officer (MPO) and Senior Sheriff’s Deputy ranks and regrade Fire-Fighter EMT-A and Sheriff’s Deputy positions. Among many things, this will lead us to have the highest starting salary in the region for new police officers ($52,000) and it will allow all officers the opportunity for a promotion into a MPO position after six years of service.
• No tax or fee increases and the city is absorbing any health insurance increase
This was a strong and strategic budget that prepares us well for the years to come.
I enjoyed speaking at the Freemason Street Area Association meeting at the Pagoda. Over 70 neighbors and friends came out to hear the latest and enjoy a beautiful evening on the Elizabeth River. I also had fun with my four-legged furry dog friends at PETA’s Poochella adoption event. There were plenty of cute dogs waiting for a good home!
One of the most memorable moments I have had since serving on City Council was reading the proclamation at the Norfolk Peace Officers’ Memorial Day Service on May 19. This event honors the thirty nine Norfolk Police Officers who have died in the line of duty while serving our great city since the inception of the Norfolk Police Department. Hearing the bell ring 39 times, seeing family members and friends honor their loved ones…what a moment in time. I am so thankful for those men and women who selflessly serve our city today.
My best to you for a healthy and safe June. See you around town!
Elizabeth River Project groundbreaking
A night at the Perry Pavilion in downtown Norfolk
Sail Nauticus Program with new sails
Carnival Magic at the cruise terminal
Vessel Craft Coffee now open in Chelsea Business District
Grady at Vessel Craft Coffee!