Richmond City Council moving closer to finalizing budget

Richmond City Council moving closer to finalizing budget
The Richmond City Council could vote on the city's 2020 budget Monday. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After about two months, the Richmond City Council could move closer to voting on the city’s 2020 budget. It is on the council’s agenda that a vote could happen at Monday night’s meeting.

It has been a contentious time after weeks of heated budget meetings, and the threat of the City Council hiring an attorney to battle Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration.

The council agreed to an additional $18 million for schools, $16 million for street paving, expanding GRTC routes in the east end and southside, as well as funding for the state’s first eviction diversion program. A new 50-cent cigarette tax will go into effect, along with utility rate hikes on water and gas.

However, not all council members were on board with the cigarette tax and utility hikes. Council member Reva Trammell still has reservations about the impact those hikes will have on residents and businesses, particularly the cigarette tax.

The council did not support the mayor’s proposed 9-cent property tax increase, so the rate will stay at $1.20.

Within the past two weeks, City Council moved to potentially hire their own attorney to face-off with Stoney’s administration, after it said it would not certify $9 million in future real estate tax revenue, which the council needed to balance the budget. This led to members of Stoney’s staff walking out of the meeting with City Council. Some council members called the move “unprecedented” and "childish. "

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. Monday.

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