City facing $30 million budget shortfall for 2011

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Budget woes have hit the River City. Richmond's mayor says the city's budget shortfall for the next fiscal year will be at least 30 million dollars. Mayor Dwight Jones announced the news this morning at a working breakfast with several City Council members. He says the city will have no choice but to make up the difference with cuts to services, layoffs and furloughs.

From fire fighters to the police officers walking the beat, the city's more than 4,000 employees could be headed for furloughs.

"It's tough times, the money's not there. And we've got to figure out how we can best spend our resources," said Richmond City Council President Kathy Graziano.

Mayor Dwight Jones calls it a budget crisis and said today, local tax revenues are not expected to increase and state revenues could drop significantly leaving the city with some tough choices.

"We're going to do some reorganization of departments, we're looking at out-sourcing, and definitely we're looking at jobs also," Graziano added.

"There's not been anybody in private industry that has not been touched by this recession, and to think that the city of Richmond could go through it unscathed would be wrong," said Council member Bruce Tyler.

The mayor says the one area he doesn't plan to touch is the real estate tax, saying "We cannot tax our way out of these kinds of situations."

"For the first time, we have really got to get down and go after this budget in a way that has never been done in the recent past," Tyler added.

Cuts to services and consolidation of departments will be looked at closely. Mayor Jones is also asking the city council for more time to come up with his budget recommendations, pushing back the release of his budget plans until April 7 so he can hold town hall meetings and get citizen input.

Jones will release more details on his plan for balancing the budget in his State of the City address in two weeks.

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