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Petersburg City Manager Foreshadows New Investments In Upcoming City Budget

Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides addressed members of the business community at the Chamber of Commerce gala Tuesday night. Roberto Roldan/WCVE News

Last night, Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides gave an update on the state of the city at the annual Chamber of Commerce gala.

When Ferrell-Benavides took over as city manager in 2017, Petersburg had a $20 million dollar budget deficit. She’s spent the last year and a half trying to stabilize the city and change the perception of Petersburg brought out by its financial crisis. And now, she said it's time for the city to invest in itself.

“Petersburg is a powerful place that has a powerful people that, collectively, will fulfill our powerful purpose," she told members of the business community.

Farrell-Benavides foreshadowed some of those investments that will appear in the budget for the next fiscal year. She said she wants to increase funding for schools and city employees, who took the hardest hit during the city's financial struggles.

After budget cuts and an increase in tax collections, Ferrell-Benavides also said the city is now on track to have the first budget surplus in 5 years. And that's something she wants to continue.

“We have a goal of a one million dollar a year addition to our fund balance," Ferrell-Benavides said. "The momentum is there and we must keep going.”

She will present the upcoming budget to Petersburg City Council on Tuesday, April 2.



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