Paul Riddick attended my civic league meeting last night. I thought he did a great job covering quite a few topics. He talked some about the light rail project – seems that federal funding for this is nearly assured and he hopes that Virginia Beach will buy in as well. He explained that Norfolk has a rainy day fund which can be used in when Norfolk experiences economic downturns. He also talked about his service on the HRT board and how he was instrumental in getting the bike racks on the buses.
Mr. Riddick considers himself a fiscal conservative and mentioned the need for Norfolk to not overspend. He talked about the fact that the retirement plan for Norfolk employees has required contributions by the city since the stock market has not done well in recent years. He also mentioned the desire to fully fund schools. (Of course, if the state fully funded their share, Norfolk wouldn’t have to spend so much of its money on schools.) Even so, Mr. Riddick is in favor of a further reduction in the real estate tax rate. Currently $1.35 per hundred, Norfolk’s rate is one of the highest in the region, even after the five cent reduction we received last July. Mr. Riddick would like the rate to drop an additional seven cents, bringing it down to $1.28. (I’d love to see it down to that of Virginia Beach, currently $1.0239 per $100.)