A new era starts tonight in Richmond-- city council has swore in three new members and voted on a new leadership team. The change impacts what council and the mayor will be able to accomplish over the next four years.
As the newly sworn-in council gets down to business, its new president, Charles Samuels, describes this time in Richmond with one word: exciting.
"We have four years to change Richmond. I hope we make every moment count," he said.
Helping the newly elected council president make every moment count are his Vice President Ellen Robertson and seven other council members, including three new faces. Michelle Mosby takes over for Doug Conner. Parker Agelasto won Marty Jewell's seat and Jon Baliles was officially declared the winner in the first district after a recount.
"The results have been certified and I'm glad to be sworn in. I'm looking forward to the next four years. There's nothing really to look back on," said Baliles.
Looking forward, Mayor Dwight Jones said tonight this refreshed council has an opportunity to do the city's business without the political infighting.
"Everybody is watching us and they're watching us to see if we can make it all work and I for one want to say that I believe that we can," Mayor Jones said.
For Samuels making it all work includes priorities like making Richmond as business friendly as the surrounding counties, working out issues with wastewater fees and improving regional transportation. The second district councilman, who has been a vocal critic of the way the mayor's administration has done things in the past, also says he'll enact suggestions from the auditor and closely guard taxpayer dollars.
"I have no intention to be a rubberstamp, nor do I have any intention of being a roadblock. If they come to me with a good idea then we're going to move forward on it 54 but it's going to be thoroughly vetted first," Samuels added.
Samuels' and Robertson's term leading that body lasts two years.
This is the fourth city council elected since Richmond switched to the council-mayor form of government back in 2004.
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