Friday, May 15, 2015

Richmond City Council establishes Highly Efficient $1.5 billion FY 2016 Richmond Government Budget

Richmond City Council – Richmond City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305 - Richmond, Virginia  23219 U.S.A.  -

Friday, 15 May 2015

Richmond City Council establishes a Highly Efficient $1.5 billion FY 2016 Richmond Government Budget

Increased School funding; No cut to core services; More accountability; Critical support of City Employees

(Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) Richmond City Council today established the new Fiscal Year 2016 Richmond Government Budget on behalf of Richmond residents. Council’s annual budget represents the cornerstone and ultimate act of its policymaking stewardship and is the single most important local government document affecting all Richmond residents.

     As part of its efficiency measures, Richmond City Council identified and redistributed funding previously allocated for vacant positions to help ensure there would be no significant cuts to core services. (The City has an average annual vacancy rate of about 13 percent, which should provide more than enough savings to cover any reductions.)

     Council is confident that the Mayor can manage this budget efficiently and looks forward to working collaboratively with him to insure significant services are not jeopardized. Council invites the Mayor to submit requests for redistributing funds, like operating budget savings, as has occurred in the past, or excess Richmond Unassigned Fund Balance monies, if needed.

     Council is confident that; despite the City not completing the critical Fiscal Year 2014 Richmond Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and while there are many competing interests for limited resources, the important and appropriate budgetary decisions were made based on the needs and wishes of Richmond residents.

     In its deliberations, Council used the following community priorities: Education; Community Development and Poverty Reduction; Human Resources; Economic Development; and, Infrastructure, such as roads, alleys and sidewalks.

     The Richmond City Council FY 2016 Richmond Government Budget, established today, includes the following important highlights:

·         A total Richmond City Council FY 2016 Richmond Government Budget, which includes the General Fund, Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), Special Funds, Enterprise Funds, Internal Service Funds, Federal and State funds and funds provided to Richmond Public Schools, of approximately $1.5 billion.

·         Council kept the Richmond Real Estate Tax at its lowest tax rate in 35 years, at $1.20 per $100 of assessed value.

·         Council increased the Richmond General Fund contribution to the Richmond Public Schools Operating Budget by $11.2 million over last year, to $145,999,657, and reallocated an additional $18 million in the Richmond Capital Improvement Plan for school planning and construction.

·         Council provided career development and salary step increases for Richmond Police Officers and Firefighters, which will also help make these positions more competitive with surrounding counties.

·         Council supported Richmond’s commitment to its parks and treescape by increasing the number of Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities James River Park System Staff and Richmond Department of Public Works Urban Forestry Employees.

·         Council approved $3 million to increase funding earmarked for a new Richmond Heritage Center in the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood.
·         Council reallocated $9.2 million that had previously been held for employee positions that were not filled.

·         Council established a slight 1.5 percent reduction in Richmond Government Operating Budgets (Exempting Richmond Public Schools, Richmond Police Department, Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Richmond Department of Public Works, Commonwealth of Virginia - Richmond Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Commonwealth of Virginia Richmond Office of the Sheriff, Richmond Department of Social Services, Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, Non-Departmental Funds and Debt Service).
·         Council established a 2 percent salary increase for Richmond government employees, which represents only the second one in more than half a decade.

·         Council invested funds in local nonprofit organizations to leverage the benefit of their services on behalf of Richmond residents.

CONTACT    For more information, please contact: Steve Skinner, Council Public Information Manager, at 804.646.6052 (office); 804.937.1386 (mobile); or (email)

Background - Richmond Government Budget
As Richmond Residents, we pool our resources in order to own and operate our local government and decide what public services we want to invest in; the priority (investment levels) for these services; and, how we pay for them. Examples of our services include the management, oversight and delivery of such things as clean/safe water; streets/parks; laws; law enforcement/firefighting/rescue; trash/sewage removal; public transportation; and, our children’s education. Together, we own, operate, use and benefit from these services on a daily basis.
     Funding for our services and enforcement of laws comes from state, local and federal sources, including fees and taxes.   
     In order to set the investment levels we want for these services, Richmond City Council establishes an official annual Richmond Government Budget in May of each year for the upcoming Fiscal Year.

      The Richmond Government Budget is based on a Fiscal Year that runs July 1 to June 30 annually and the City operates on a two-year fiscal plan (Budget) that includes the Richmond General Fund, Richmond Capital Improvement Plan, Richmond Special Funds, Richmond Enterprise Funds, Richmond Internal Service Funds, the City Government local contribution to Richmond Public Schools; and, additional state, federal, and other funds provided to Richmond Public Schools.

      Richmond City Council budget deliberations begin each August and intensify the following year. They include more than a dozen public meetings, hearings, and work sessions from August through May; and, include a proposal submitted by the Mayor, who is responsible for overseeing the administration of local government services.

     The Richmond Government Budget takes the form of Ordinances that are approved by Richmond City Council each May for an upcoming Fiscal Year.

Richmond City Council

The mission of Richmond City Council is to represent citizens in creating and amending local laws, providing government policy and oversight, and approving the city budget.

Richmond City Council is committed to creating a vibrant community that is a great place to live, work, learn, play, visit and raise a family.

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