City Council compromise restores Shockoe money, provides other increases

Posted at 8:47 PM, May 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-12 20:50:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Richmond City Council on Monday announced they had reached an agreement to move the city’s budget forward.

On May 1, council voted 5-4 on budget amendments that cut $12.6 for Mayor Dwight Jones’ proposed ball-park development plan in Shockoe Bottom. The money would have paid for road, water and electricity upgrades that would be needed if the stadium was built in the Bottom. A million was left for the mayor’s proposal.

The mayor had threatened to veto the budget amendments, which would require a support of six council votes to override.

The newly announced agreement restores previous cuts to the Shockoe infrastructure, but only $10.6 million. This is a $3 million reduction from the Mayor’s original proposal.

This agreement secures additional funding for key projects to move the City forward and avoids a mayoral veto.

Council gets to preserve some of the funding for school maintenance and a riverfront plan; where they had hoped to redirect the money from the ball-park development plan.

The mayor’s original budget has $5 million in new funding for additional capital needs for Richmond Public Schools, and the compromised adds $2.05 million to that.

For comparison the 2014 fiscal year budget allotted $600,000 for school maintenance.

With the new budget agreement there will be $1.5 million allotted for bicycle infrastructure, $100,000 for the Oliver Hill Courts Building and $250,000 for blighted properties

Those measures will be funded by a a $3.9 million reduction in capital funding for the proposed E-911 Center, while retaining funding to plan the facility.

The $3 million in funding for the Riverfront will be drawn from the city’s anticipated FY14 revenue surplus.

The agreement reduces the $4.5 million in capital improvements that had been proposed for individual Council districts.

The mayor and City Council President Charles Samuels, 2nd District, announced the compromise.

“It’s been very encouraging to see the outpouring of support for public schools this year,” Mayor Jones said. “From my conversations with students, members of the School Board and City Council, and due to my confidence in our new School Superintendent, I’m pleased that we’ve been able to add additional funding for public schools. We’re all committed to our public schools, the riverfront, and our bicycling infrastructure. This agreement moves these projects forward.”

“I am pleased with this agreement that invests in our shared priorities to move the City forward and avoids a Mayoral veto or override,” Samuels said. “Richmond City Council and the Mayor came together, negotiated in good faith, and produced a positive result for the City.”