Mayor Stoney proposes 2019 budget

Mayor Stoney proposes 2019 budget
Mayor Stoney (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney proposed the 2019 budget to city council in the city council chambers at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

He says the proposed $715.2 million budget is "fully balanced and in line with the city's current revenue projections."

"This budget meets all of our legal requirements and mandates, while continuing to fund city services and our core priorities essential to improving the quality of life for our residents," said Stoney. "This is a fiscally responsible and lean budget, but this plan still manages to continue to invest, and even improve and expand upon our support for targeted priorities in core services, public safety, poverty mitigation, and education."

Mayor Stoney's proposed budget includes a reinvestment of $12.5 million of Richmond Public Schools balances to meet local funding requests of 2019.

The budget also shows that $3.3 million has been funded "to continue the salary decompression and step pay increases" that went into effect last year.

Mayor Stoney also proposed that an additional $1 million will go toward the paving program to pave an additional 20 lane miles to improve neighborhood streets.

On Tuesday, Mayor Stoney proposed a budget that will allow creating a new Department of Citizen and Response to oversee the 311 call center, creating a new Performance Management Office, and creating a new Department of Housing and Community Development.

Mayor Stoney also wants to create new positions within the Richmond Police Department that will serve the needs of public housing communities.

He also wants to reduce the water rate for all single-family residential customers, which means the average customer will see a $3.70 decrease in their bill.

Mayor Stoney also proposed a 1 percent salary increase for non-sworn, non-constitutional officer employees to take effect in January of 2019 and an additional 1 percent pay increase in 2020. He also proposed that expecting City of Richmond employees should get four weeks of paid maternity leave and fathers should get four weeks of paid paternal bonding leave.

In his proposal, the mayor also said he wants to increase funding for the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority by $733,000.

He also wants to see an increase in investing in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, from $731,000 in 2017 to $1 million per year in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

“If we don’t think ambitiously, and creatively, about how investments today can pay big dividends tomorrow, then we are little more than caretakers of the way things are, de facto defenders of the status quo,” said Mayor Stoney. “That is not good enough for me."

"This is a challenge we cannot turn down, and this is a test we must pass – not just to be fiscally balanced and to check all the boxes to meet our financial obligations, but to be creative, ambitious and to invest in our shared priorities: a well-run city, a safer city, a healthy city and a city of opportunity, One Richmond, committed to the promise of a brighter future for all of its residents," Mayor Stoney added.?

This comes after city council has voted to increase the meals tax by 1.5 percent on Feb. 12. The money will go to improve city schools.

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