Virginia Beach residents, council members question proposed stormwater tax

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach has a stormwater tax on the table, but city council members want to make sure current stormwater revenue is being properly spent.

“I don’t want to to say public enemy number one, but it is,” said Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Shannon Kane.

That public enemy reared its ugly head after Hurricane Matthew. Neighborhoods like Windsor Woods were left underwater. Homes were ruined.

“It was emotional watching this and seeing these families and hearing their stories about everything they have in their life just taken away in a dumpster,” Kane added.

Beach officials know something needed to be done to address flooding. The city manager’s solution was to raise stormwater tax 2.5 cents to pay for a $450 million city wide plan to fix drains and other stormwater issues. That would mean a household would pay an extra $9.00 per year.

“We owe it to them (residents) to say it’s going where we say it is going to go and that we are doing all that we possibly can to avoid the flooding and the damage,” Kane said.

Virginia Beach budget funds two priorities, costs taxpayers

Some residents could argue they already pay a stormwater fee. They flooded the council and auditor with questions.

“Where is the current stormwater funds being spent?” Virginia Beach City Auditor Lyndon Remias asked. “How it is being spent? If we are going to pay more taxes, we want to make sure it is being use to address the flooding issues.”

Kane asked Remias to stop everything and immediately looking into where the money is going.

“We have the stormwater fees that people complain about and concerns about,” Kane said. “We need to make sure that every penny we are collecting from citizens is going to where we say it is going to go.”

Kane believes the money is being spent right. She says it is just important to be transparent with tax payers.

Remias tells 10 On Your Side the audit won’t be done before the vote on the tax hike.