Richmond city budget $10M short

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Bad news out of City Hall; Richmond's budget for the current 2010 fiscal year is $10M short! Mayor Dwight Jones says revenue collections are behind what was projected when the city adopted its official budget.

That large hole is about two percent of the city's original $630M budget. Now, Richmond's leaders are scrambling to figure out how to close the gap. Whether or not this will lead to job cuts for city workers is still up in the air.

Tighter belts are once again necessary.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised," said City Council President Kathy Graziano.

We broke the news of the city's $10M shortfall to Council President Kathy Graziano. She tells us $4.5M of the $10M shortage comes from a reduction in the money Richmond gets from the state. The mayor says much of the rest of that gap comes from a decline in tax revenue.

"We get money when people build houses; they're not building houses.  We get sales tax.  People are not spending," said Graziano.

Council will get a more complete picture when city staff presents its fiscal strategy Thursday.  But, after budget cycles with repeated cuts, we wondered if there's anything left to trim besides jobs.

"I really don't want to answer that question now because I don't know what the administration is looking at.  I know the administration desperately wants this to not have any impact on our workforce," she said.

Mayor Dwight Jones is recommending a new commercial tipping fee at the landfill and targeted cuts, as opposed to across the board reductions.

"I would hope that the cuts that we make to achieve this would be individual cuts on programs that we think we can afford to give up for a while," said Graziano.

The only good news is Mayor Jones says the situation could have been worse. The city is collecting more money than expected from real estate and personal property taxes, as well as license fees. City staff will present the full budget picture to Council tomorrow afternoon at 4pm.

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