RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Wednesday morning, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced the city is projected to have a $15 million surplus for the 2019 fiscal year.
“Increased revenues above projections, improvements in tax collections and savings from efficiencies in departmental operations,” is what Stoney said contributed to the extra money.
Specifically, the mayor pointed out last year’s meal tax hike, which brought in $9.3 million as opposed to the projected $9.1 million total.
The mayor already has plans in mind for the extra funds: $500,000 for enhancements to community centers, $180,000 for universal access ramps at Huguenot Flatwater, $282,000 on access ramps at Tredegar, and $1 million on capitol improvements would be some of the proposed projects.
But most of the of the surplus will go to the city’s retirees:
“$6.2 million to fund a 1 percent increase in a cost of living adjustment paid to city retirees," Stoney said. “This is the first increase paid to city employees in a decade.”
City council will still have to vote on the mayor’s proposals, and Councilwoman Kim Gray said Stoney should have talked to them first.
“I am concerned that calls were made to organizations, labor unions and groups that were told that they would get cost of living increases before [city council members] were given information,” Gray said.
Gray believes some of the surplus should be used to address infrastructure issues.
“We have flooding issues throughout the city, we have sidewalk repairs that need to happen, we have potholes," Gray said. "Why aren’t we getting the work done that needs to get done for the citizens, but we’re proposing big shiny object project in the meantime?”
In addition, Stoney also wants some of the surplus to go towards the city’s Rainy Day Fund and capital maintenance reserve.
City Council will begin debating the mayor’s proposals next month.
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