Debate begins on how to spend $60 million

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The city has come into to a 60 million dollar windfall. Now the battle has begun on how to spend it.

Quibbling over $60 million…it's a welcome fight to have at City Hall this week.

"The mayor deserves a lot of credit and congratulations for pulling this coup," said Council Member Marty Jewell.

Council Members Bruce Tyler, Marty Jewell, and Reva Trammell were full of compliments for the mayor. He worked out a deal with the RMA to repay this decades-old debt for the Downtown Expressway construction, decades earlier than expected.

But the three also made it clear when come to ideas for spending it, the mayor's not alone.

"When you come into a restaurant in the city of Richmond you pay a higher meal's tax than you do in the surrounding counties. We need to look at that to eliminate that one penny tax," said Reva Trammell.

Trammell also wants to lower the real estate tax and admissions tax.

"At the end of the day we have to figure out a way to reduce taxes so that we can take the burden of the taxes off the citizens. So that this community can continue to grow," said Bruce Tyler.

Mayor Dwight Jones has already suggested spending some of the money on impoverished areas, pushed aside when the expressway was built. And on fixing up the Diamond and repaving Jeff Davis Highway. But Jewell pointed out, 9 others are also hearing from the public where this money should go.

"It seems that we should have some ideas, as well as the mayor, about how those dollars should be spent," said Jewell.

Council President Kathy Graziano was not part of the press conference, but says she believes the city should be cautious and spend as much time saving money as spending it.

"That money belongs to the citizens of Richmond, not council, not the mayor. It belongs to our citizens," said Trammell.

The money won't be returned to the city until at least November. That gives the mayor and council several months to figure out a plan for spending it.

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