Mayor reveals 2015 budget for the city - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Mayor reveals 2015 budget for the city

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones unveiled his budget plans for the city in 2015, and he's focusing on adding millions to causes like school maintenance and battling poverty. The mayor also proposed a hike in utility rates.

The mayor says he proud his administration was able to fill budget gaps for next year without having to layoff or furlough any city employees, or make them pay more towards rising health insurance costs.

Mayor Dwight Jones laid out his plan for a $777 million general fund budget, which leaves no debt.

$194 million is slated to fund anti-poverty programs. The mayor wants to add more than three million to that. He also aims to increase school maintenance funding over the next several years by nearly $15 million.

Real estate tax won't go up, but a change that's likely to get some backlash: a rise in utility rates for gas water and wastewater. It's an estimated hike of about $6 a month for a resident paying for all three.

The mayor rejected a stormwater increase for now. His administration is trying to find ways to make the stormwater system more efficient and up to new federal standards, without passing those costs onto residents.

Another change the mayor hopes to make: combining the 911 emergency dispatch center with the city's ambulance dispatch center. The goal is to achieve faster response times and to save money.

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