Richmond city employees react to no raise possibility

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -- Just hours after Richmond's Mayor Dwight Jones announced his budget plan for the coming 2013 fiscal year, city employees reacted to the news of possibly not seeing a raise or bonus.

Richmond Public Works employee Andre Williams knows times are tough. "The way the economy is going and people being laid off, most would go for either not getting a raise or a bonus."

Other city employees told us the same thing. That's exactly what Richmond mayor Dwight Jones is hoping to hear. His budget plan for the new year says no raises or bonuses. But his plan also means no layoffs or furloughs.

Jones says he went straight to city workers to ask raises or jobs. "Overwhelmingly, the consensus was we rather have jobs. Of course they want raises and they deserve raises. But, it's just not possible at this time."

"Maybe when things turn around, you can be rewarded for being loyal," adds Williams.

Speaking of turning things around -- Mayor Jones has a plan to do that, too-- focusing on tourism. "Tourism is a huge way to bring money into the city."

That plan includes looking at improving parts of the river front, Shockoe Bottom, Main Street Station and more. Jones also wants to turn public housing into mixed-use communities.

Mayor Jones plans to do all of this without raising taxes. But, he did propose a plan where you could see a "slight" increase to your water and sewer rates.

"I think that's good for this city. To move forward, we cannot continue to tax our citizens out of the city," says Bruce Tyler, Richmond City Councilman.

The mayor's office was still working to get us the exact amount of extra money you'd have to pay if the water and sewer rates do increase.

There will be a public hearing on the budget on April 10th. The Council will finalize and adopt a budget in May.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.