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As Petersburg teeters on brink of shutdown, residents want to volunteer

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 17:47:52-04

PETERSBURG, Va. – Petersburg residents and retiress are offering money, products and services to try and keep Petersburg City afloat amid a $12 million dollar budget deficit.

Petersburg business owners have begun taking donations of cleaning supplies to help city services affected by the budget short fall and many people said they willing to lend a helping hand free of charge.

Financially, the city is in bad shape. There are federal and state investigations underway. There are looming bond disasters that could literally bankrupt the city.

Several retirees said they’re willing to trade in their rest and relaxation for a few hours back in the office every week, if it helps struggling agencies.

They hope that freeing up a paid employee to focus on other tasks could help during the lean times.

"If we can save the city money and get it back up and running on its feet more quickly with some outside volunteer support, then I'm all for that,” said Lt. Scott Flaherty, who retired from the Petersburg Police Department.

Alfred Flowers retired from Reynold's Metals and at age 66, said he is willing to lend a hand if the city will let him.

Alfred Flowers retired from Reynold's Metals and at age 66, said he is willing to lend a hand if the city will let him.

Alfred Flowers retired from Reynold's Metals and at age 66, said he is willing to lend a hand if the city will let him.

"A couple of hours, a day a week, or whatever it takes to get the job done, I'm willing,” Flowers said.

"I know gasoline engines, I know about equipment, I know about street sweepers, I know about concrete -- about some of everything,” he added.

While retired police officers can't work on the street they are willing to come back and help in any capacity.

Capt. Greg Ozmar, who retired from the Petersburg Police Department.

Capt. Greg Ozmar, who retired from the Petersburg Police Department.

"If there's something I can help with especially if it frees up a working sworn officer, I think it would be a good deal, win-win,” Capt. Greg Ozmar, who retired from the Petersburg Police Department.

Others said they will help out anywhere.

"Whether it's in the Police Department, Fire Department, City Hall Area,” said Lt. Flaherty.

Randus Ayres at Classic Barbershop is collecting cleaning supplies for the four fire stations, because the city is no longer paying for them.

Collecting donations for fire stations

Collecting donations for fire stations

“We got water, we got detergent, toilet paper, toilet tissue, bleach, pretty much the cleaning agents they need to keep the Fire Department Clean and also themselves,” Ayres said.

Though volunteers are willing to help, City officials have declined to comment if they will use their services.

Though a fire station, museums, city jobs, salaries, services are all potentially on the budget chopping block -- as residents at council meetings look at each other like passengers on the Titanic -- a CBS 6 reporter said it is madness -- but it's not hopeless.

Continue reading Mark Holmberg's commentary about how "Despite budget crisis, Petersburg could go to boom from bust."