RICHMOND, Va. – For the first time in four years the city filed its 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to the state on time.
Mayor Levar Stoney said during his campaign that he would work to improve the efficiency of city government and get the report delivered to the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts before deadline.
The 2015 and 2016 CAFRs were filed nearly a year and five months late respectively, causing consternation among members of City Council and the public.
“Your government is now working better and more efficiently,” said Mayor Stoney. “We made this a top priority this year, and the Finance Department did a tremendous job.”
The CAFR consists of financial audit statements, and the current one shows that Richmond had a surplus when the fiscal year ended in June.
For the fiscal year, General Fund revenues and financing sources were $713.8 million. General Fund expenditures and other financing uses were $692.8 million. City taxes accounted for 67.4% percent of revenue.
The audit also indicates that the city population is increasing, as is enrollment in schools.
The city currently employees 3,623 permanent full- and part-time workers. Despite an increase in citizens and revenue, the number of city employees has steadily decreased in the last fiscal 10 years.
In 2008, the city had 4,775 full-time employees. Only the waste water and water utility departments have seen an increase.
There are 183 less full-time police officers, 54 less firefighters, 248 less workers in highways, streets, sanitation and refuse, 113 less in the social services role, and 165 less general government employees.
Despite the decrease in the fire department, employees have seen a 95% increase in number of calls answered, over a 10-year period. In 2008, there were 19,864 calls answered and in 2017 there were 38, 516.
The highway and street department has also increased its output. The city audit showed that 898 potholes were fixed in 2008, whereas that number jumped to over 20,000 by 2017.
The city said that operations are being run more efficiently, but acknowledged that they “still need and are looking for additional personnel.”
“At the same time, and as the mayor has instructed, we will continue to improve efficiencies in how City Hall is run, and we will continue to implement the recommendations of the performance review completed earlier this year,” the mayor’s office wrote in a statement.
The financial report can be read here.