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Richmond Ends Budget Year With Surplus Despite Pandemic

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney standing at a podium presenting his budget to city council
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney presenting the FY2021 budget to City Council earlier this year. (Roberto Roldan/VPM News)

Richmond is on track to end the 2020 budget year with a surplus, according to Mayor Levar Stoney. 

In a press release sent out Monday, Stoney announced his administration is expecting to have a surplus of $4.7 million in FY2020, which ended on June 30. City officials previously projected Richmond would have a budget deficit of nearly $7 million due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting business closures. That money would have had to be pulled from the city’s ‘rainy day fund’ since local governments can not go into debt. 

Despite the budget surplus only accounting for the first couple months of the ongoing pandemic, Stoney held it up as proof Richmond isn’t being hit hard. 

“The city is projected to have weathered the economic impacts of this pandemic locally,” Stoney said. “This projected surplus was made possible by channeling fiscal responsibility, by neither over-correcting nor underreacting.”

The Stoney administration attributes the surplus to freezes on hiring and discretionary spending. Revenue from meal and lodging taxes also outperformed projections.

The estimated budget surplus for FY20 has not been independently audited, and a final financial report won’t be available until the Fall. Richmond City Council and the Stoney administration have agreed to meet monthly to discuss ongoing changes to the FY2021 budget, which began on July 1. 

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