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Richmond City Council approves nearly $3B budget

Councilmembers listens as Mayor Stoney gives remarks
Shaban Athuman
VPM News
Council members Katherine Jordan, center, and Ann-Frances Lambert, right, listen as Mayor Levar Stoney delivers his proposed budget to the City Council on March 27, 2024 in Richmond.

The spending plan addresses city essentials like Richmond Public Schools' maintenance.

Richmond City Council voted Monday to approve a nearly $3 billion spending plan for fiscal 2025.

The stamp of approval comes after weeks of public hearings and council amendments. Earlier in May, Richmond officials identified an additional $9 million in estimated interest income. The majority of proposed amendments addressed how that money would be spent.

Mayor Levar Stoney first introduced his final spending plan back in March, prioritizing workforce development, education, child care, affordable housing and more. He’s running for lieutenant governor in 2025 after dropping out of the governor’s race.

Stoney, who wasn’t present at Monday night’s formal meeting, issued a statement shortly after the budget passed.

“This budget continues our progress and invests in what makes Richmond, Richmond – our people. From historic funding for our schools, children and families, city employees, and affordable housing, the Fiscal Year 2025 budget is about lifting up Richmonders and providing them with the opportunities to succeed,” he wrote.

Council President Kristen Nye told VPM News that this budget process was different, because staff had a lot of behind-the-scenes meetings with Stoney prior to his public introduction of the budget to council.

“That was great, because the budget came to us with a lot of councilmembers' priorities included … our constituents' priorities are things that we hear about all the time, all year round, we collect the information and bring it forward,” Nye said. “I do think that that extra time the mayor had, and the time we had to collaborate with him, was really positive.”

Nye said this council is in its fourth year of working together, making the collective priorities clear.

“The collective priorities are the big things. It’s parks, it’s affordable housing, it’s schools, it’s police, it’s our city workers,” Nye said, noting that council also approved three of the union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements for fire, police and city employees. “The same pay increases that are being funded in our collective bargaining agreements are being funded throughout the city. So you don't have to be part of the union to get that raise.”

Mayor Stoney gives remarks
Shaban Athuman
VPM News
Mayor Levar Stoney speaks to City Council about his proposed budget on March 27. Stoney issued a statement Monday commending council on the new budget.

The council president, who is not running for re-election in the 4th District later this year, added that “commitment is the word of the year” when it comes to the collective efforts of City Council and Stoney’s administration.

The fiscal 2025 budget addresses essential services like public safety, infrastructure maintenance and education. This budget raises the hourly minimum wage for city workers to $20 — $8 above the state minimum, invests an additional $17 million dollars into Richmond Public Schools’ maintenance and supports shelters and services for unhoused people with a $4.2-million-dollar allotment.

During the council meeting, several Richmond Public Schools staff members once again asked councilors to fully fund the school division. Seventh District Councilor Cynthia Newbille stated that council had heard the educators — which is why the final budget added $17 million to funding for RPS.

Teachers alleged mold, low-quality school lunches and raised other infrastructure issues in schools. Councilor Stephanie Lynch of the 4th District told the council chambers audience that City Council has zero authority over how RPS operates and manages school division finances.

Lynch added that hearing these continued facilities concerns from staff was frustrating and concerning.

As VPM News previously reported, last week councilors increased the city’s contribution for RPS to $239 million — less than the $246.5 million the division has budgeted.

In addition, other major projects include allocating $21 million for infrastructure investments for paving, new bike lanes and and maintenance for city roads, bridges and sidewalks; $5 million for Creighton Court redevelopment; $10 million for improvements to Brown’s Island; $13 million for the Shockoe Project; $1.2 million for parks and community centers, and $1 million for afterschool programs and community-based programs for 12- to 19-year-olds.

Virginia’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 each year. This budget will take effect in July.

Click here to read the full budget.

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