City to get additional $2 million in RMA deal

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond could see a bigger payday. The city could get even more money than originally negotiated if a deal to have the Richmond Metropolitan Authority repay loans goes through.

City Council's approval isn't needed to get this money from the RMA but it did play a role here.  We're told if it wasn't for the urging of council members, the city would have forfeited almost two million bucks.

The fate of a large chunk of money is now in the hands of the board. It is a decades' old debt, a loan used to establish the expressway system.

"We believe we can get the full amount of $62.3 million or so from the RMA board," Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall said.

Originally though, the mayor's administration negotiated a deal that would allow the RMA to repay the money minus 18 months of interest. Council members, however, didn't want a loss of about two million dollars.

"I think City Council has finally come to realize that they are the governing body and they have a fiduciary responsibility to govern this city," Councilman Bruce Tyler told us.

We went to find out what two million represents for the city.

$2 million could mean more money in the city's rainy day fund for emergencies and tough economic times. It could also help with ADA compliance in public schools.

We wanted to know which Richmond taxes or fees would add up to two million bucks, ones maybe the city could eliminate for a year if it gets this money.

We learned it collects $2 million in admission taxes a year. That's a fee on anything you spend more than fifty cents to go to in the city.

Those choices won't be made until the dollars are actually in the city coffers.

"At the end of the day, we need to be fiscally responsible with this money and look to providing a better financial future for the city perhaps than we have today," said Council President Kathy Graziano.

The RMA board is expected to vote next month, with payment by the end of the year.

Not everyone is sold though. Some say if the city takes the money too soon, it will take longer for it to get back the expressway system as a whole.

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