Richmond mayor proposes eliminating 2 city departments

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

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond city leaders may eliminate two entire city departments to help them fill a $30 million funding gap. That's on top of the layoffs and furloughs expected in this budget go around.

The proposal is to drop the city Departments of Emergency Management and General Services. The move could save the city $500,000 each year in salaries.

"We have to find a better way to run this government because we have to make up for this loss," said Richmond City Council President Kathy Graziano.

There would not be layoffs here. General Services, including the 311 customer service line and parking services, would be transferred to the Departments of Information Technology and Public Works. Employees from Emergency Management would be re-assigned to the Fire Department. And four vacant management positions would be eliminated.

"All of which we need to do in this tough economy. We need to look at how we are spending these dollars and how we can get these services in the most cost effective way," said Graziano.

Trash collection, printing services, even fleet management may be contracted out. A city audit in 2007 suggested $4.4 million in savings if fleet management was out-sourced.

Council member Cynthia Newbille said she's ready to roll up her sleeves and work with the administration to find places to make more cuts.

"The mayor wants to get input from citizens. He's going to have town hall meetings. He wants input from council. He wants input from employees. How can we do something better," Graziano said.

The city plans to launch a website next week where employees can weigh in and identify areas to cut. Mayor Dwight Jones will give an update on the budget crisis next Tuesday in his State of the City Address.

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