Norfolk held a hearing tonight on the proposed 2-cent increase in the real estate tax rate for school construction. Hearing from the parents of children in our schools, most notably Larchmont and Ocean View Elementary Schools, was just heart-wrenching. How our schools ended up in such disrepair is beyond me. None of the speakers were against the tax increase.
It was what came afterwards that was a surprise. Mayor Paul Fraim closed the public meeting to “take up another matter.” Saying that he heard the concerns of the citizens, the mayor proposed an additional 2-cent increase in the real estate rate, with one cent for the schools and the other for neighborhoods.
Had the mayor said they were going to look into the budget to try to find additional money for this and if, upon finding none, we should consider an additional rate increase, I probably would have been satisfied. But he didn’t. To his credit, Andy Protogyrou did. He recommended they try to come up with some of the money there first.
But Fraim was anxious to get the public hearing scheduled. And it sounded to me that he was trying to pull the same trick used in Virginia Beach: schedule the public hearing just hours before the vote on the budget. Fortunately, Theresa Whibley helped to nix that idea.
So Norfolk will have a public hearing on whether the rate should go up. That hearing will be held Monday, May 13, at 6pm at Granby High School.
It’s for the children, you know.