How Richmond plans to pay for removal of monuments

How Richmond plans to pay for removal of monuments

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With Confederate monument removal on pause for the holiday weekend, many of you are asking about how the City of Richmond is paying for all the work.

It’s a hefty monetary bill, but at the end of the day, the hope is that price tag can be covered without using taxpayer dollars. The city estimates it will cost about $1.8 million to remove Richmond’s 11 controversial monuments.

“We have some very generous folks that are working with us on the contractor side,” said Stephanie Lynch, Richmond City Council. “We of course have a number of folks who are making pledges as we speak.”

The money is coming out of the city’s fiscal budget that started on Wednesday, specifically from the Department of Public Works (DPW). There are concerns over the use of that money with COVID-19 budget impacts and other economic constraints looming.

“It’s still a long way from $2 million but although that’s the ultimate goal, to hold the city completely harmless in terms of costs,” said Shannon Harton, a concerned citizen. “Every dollar we raise is a dollar less that’s taken from schools and roads and parks so I’ll be satisfied with that.”

Harton is part of a private fundraiser now underway to help offset those costs.

“The Fund to Move the Monuments” has seen a boom in donations since Mayor Levar Stoney ordered Confederate monuments to be immediately removed on Wednesday.

“It’s been mainly support and money coming in. I mean, all amounts from a $5 gift to a $500 gift and everything in between,” said Harton.

Tuesday night, the fund had about a grand in it. Wednesday that tripled, then doubled Thursday, and as of Friday, the fund sits just shy of $13,000. City leaders are hopeful the fund will fulfill its mission.

“I fully expect for us to exceed our fundraising goal and of course the rest of those proceeds will be going to Richmond Public Schools,” said Lynch.

City council would have to formally adopt a resolution to accept the money.

So no matter what, the city will have to pay upfront and hope private donors will reimburse them or else DPW faces a shortfall.

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