HAMPTON--A 24-cent increase in the real estate tax rate may sound terrible but Hampton's Communication Srategist Robin McCormick says, 'It's not as dramatic as it sounds.'

City Manager Mary Bunting is recommending a 24-cent increase that would take the real estate tax rate from $1.04 to $1.28 per $100.00 dollars of assessed value.

The city claims even if there is a 24-cent hike, most property owners would be paying less than they did in 2008 due to the drop in home values.

'If the real estate rate continues to decline and the tax rate isn't adjusted we're looking at cutting a park, closing the history museum or closing branches of the library,' said McCormick.

The city has scheduled four public information campaigns for residents to have their say and get questions answered before a budget is proposed.

Here are the public input dates and times:

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Kecoughtan High School
Saturday, March 2, 9-11 a.m., Bethel High School
Thursday, March 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Hampton High School
Saturday, March 9, 9-11 a.m., Ruppert Sargent Building, first floor conference room

Click here to watch the budget presentation.

Click here to read the city's press release.

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