Monday, April 17, 2017

Mayor Kicks off Earth Week With New Sustainability Plan Announcement


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced RVAgreen 2050, a new comprehensive sustainability planning initiative. It is the next step in the evolution of the city’s sustainability agenda, which builds upon the solid foundation formed by the existing RVAgreen sustainability plan adopted by City Council in 2012. Great progress has been made to date, with 10 out of 13 sustainability indicators tracking positively. The city’s renewable energy capacity has increased by over 44,000% since 2008, community-wide energy use has decreased 1.5% and community recycling rates have increased 26%. The City has achieved 20 out of 55 sustainability initiatives and is on track to complete another 14 by the end of 2017.

RVAgreen2050 will begin with a summit this summer to start the planning process to develop our Community Energy Plan, the first step in a four-part plan. This comprehensive plan will be broken down into four major areas that will help Richmond create a healthier, more vibrant, economically competitive and resilient community:
  • Community Energy Plan
  • Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan
  • Climate Action Plan
  • Placemaking Strategy
The City is undertaking this new sustainability planning effort to reach the goal of reducing city government and community greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. As of Dec. 31, 2015, city government greenhouse gas emissions are down 11% and community greenhouse gas emissions are down 15%.

Please click here to visit the City's Sustainability page.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

City to Receive $1.3 Million Interest-Free Loan From the Virginia Resources Authority


The Virginia Resources Authority announced Thurs., March 30 the State Water Control Board has authorized funding from the Virginia Water Facilities Revolving Fund to the City of Richmond. The funding consists of an interest-free loan in an amount up to approximately $1.3 million.

The loan will be used to finance a pilot program to identify the benefits and cost-effectiveness of alternatives to permeable pavement surfaces in city alleyways, and the impact of these alternatives on storm water runoff reduction.

“We sincerely appreciate this Virginia Resources Authority loan,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “The pilot program this loan will fund will allow us to better understand what we can do to manage storm water runoff and control water pollution affecting our city.”

“This loan will greatly benefit DPU’s ongoing commitment to utilize green infrastructure BMPs (Best Management Practices) within the storm water utility,” s­­aid DPU Director Bob Steidel. “Ratepayers will also see a benefit as a result of the interest-free funding.”

Background:

Since 1987, the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund has been providing low interest loan funding for water quality improvement projects throughout the Commonwealth. Funds are currently provided to local governments, public service authorities, agricultural producers, partnerships and corporations for a variety of project types. Loan repayments are circulated back into the fund to create a dedicated source of revenue available for future clean water projects.

The purpose of the Virginia Land Conservation Loan Program is to provide a long-term source of low interest financing for the conservation of land in Virginia in order to improve and/or protect the water resources of the Commonwealth. Additional benefits of the program include the protection of open space or natural values of the properties and/or the assurance of the availability of the land for agricultural, forestal, recreation or open space use. Although these other benefits are of value, the principle focus and utilization of the fund is on beneficial impacts to water quality.

 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mayor Stoney Marks Successful First 100 Days


Watch the “Mayor’s Minute – First 100 Days” here.
 

Today, April 10, 2017, marks Mayor Stoney’s 100th day in office after being sworn in and pledging to work every day to build One Richmond – a city that works for everyone.

The Mayor has hit the ground running, making good on his promise to be engaged in the community and initiate much needed reform focused on the core priorities of improving public education, promoting public safety, creating economic opportunity and fixing City Hall.

Mayor Stoney has visited fire stations, police precincts and a third of city schools already, in addition to more than 100 public appearances in his first months in office. He has also joined council members in district walk-throughs or held community meetings in nearly every district.

In just the first few months into his administration, the Mayor has won consensus with the School Board and City Council on an Education Compact to address the needs of the whole child, helped attract hundreds of new jobs to the city and introduced a GRTC transit plan that will reduce commutes and waiting times without increasing fares.

He launched an independent and comprehensive performance review of every city department to make City Hall work again, and introduced a balanced budget that makes record investments in city schools while also increasing funding for public safety and community wealth building.

“It’s been a great 100 days,” said Mayor Stoney. “I want to thank the community for all of its support. The best is yet to come.”

Below is a list of some of the administration’s accomplishments over the first 100 days.
###

HIGHLIGHTS OF FIRST 100 DAYS:

Fix City Hall / Departmental performance:
Initiated a 100-Day performance review by the Performance Management Group to find out what works and what needs improvement in City Hall. Took swift action to change leadership of several departments.

Education Compact:
Unanimous adoption by School Board and Council to work toward multi-agency, intergovernmental compact to address needs of the whole child.

Community Engagement:

More than 100 public appearances, including schools, police and fire stations, community walks and meetings in every district.

Public Safety:
Police Department is establishing a public housing unit. Trained more than 450 residents in use of force training. Three new fire engines were commissioned.

Public Works:
Prioritized residential streets in addition to primary roads during January snow storm and plowed 80% of streets within 24 hours. More than 4,500 potholes filled since January.

Welcoming City:
Issued Mayoral Directive reaffirming policies of inclusion. Among them: police will not inquire about immigration status and will not enter into 287(g) agreements with federal Immigrations Customs Enforcement. Joined Welcoming America and list of Welcoming Cities. Signed Mayor’s Against LGBT Discrimination national pledge.

Economic Development:
Nearly 700 new jobs brought to Richmond, including fortune 500 company Owens & Minor, Inc. to downtown Richmond, and the expansion of TemperPack in South Richmond.

Regional Leadership:
The Mayor accepted the role as co-chairman of the Capital Region Collaborative and has met multiple times with leaders in Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield.

GRTC-Transit:
Took important steps to remaking our Transit network to connect city workers to where jobs are located - and to get residents to their jobs faster - without any fare or tax increase.

Budget:
A balanced $681 million budget that does not raise taxes, including a record $6.1 million increased investment for schools, plus $1.3 million for police, $1 million for fire and $500,000 for community wealth building. One-time surplus money dedicated to finishing emergency communications system, repairing an estimated 1,300 alleys and getting a head start on grass cutting.

Finance and Administration:
The 2016 CAFR to be completed by the end of April. City is on schedule to complete the 2017 CAFR on time. Successful visit to New York bond rating agencies to preserve current rating, which produced a positive report from Fitch Ratings to affirm City is on track for AAA rating.

Richmond Animal Care & Control:
Achieved an 89% save rate in 2016 and since January has already taken in and cared for 698 animals with a 92% save rate in 2017.

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

City Celebrates Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service


Mayor Levar M. Stoney, along with Henrico County’s Deputy County Manager for Community Operations, Tim Foster, will spotlight the impact of national service in the Richmond region and thank those who serve during a 9 a.m. recognition ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, April 4, for the fifth annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service. The event will be held at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, located at 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue.

More than 4,000 mayors and county officials from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico will hold public events and use both traditional and social media to highlight the value and impact of national service to the nation’s cities. This initiative is being led at the national level by the federal agency for service and volunteerism, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), along with Cities of Service and the National League of Cities. The City of Richmond has participated in the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service since its inception.

After the 9 a.m. event, sponsored by the city’s Office on Volunteerism and Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N) initiatives, volunteers will join in performing the following service projects around the city and region from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

SERVICE PROJECTS:
Locations:                                                                 Description of Service Projects:
Evergreen Cemetery                                                  Remove invasive species; beautify the grounds
Eastern Henrico Recreation Center                           Create education/reading packets for elementary 
                                                                                   school children
                                                          
If you are interested in attending this event and volunteering, please sign up here. Please visit the city’s N2N page to view a list of other upcoming volunteer opportunities. If you have any questions or need assistance with registering with N2N, please call (804) 646-6528.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Fitch Reaffirms City's AA+ Credit Rating


Fitch Ratings, one of the three nationally recognized credit rating agencies for municipal governments, published their annual review of the City of Richmond following a visit to their New York office last month by Mayor Levar Stoney, City administration leaders and representatives from the City’s financial advisor, Davenport & Company LLC.

Fitch reaffirmed the City’s “AA+” credit rating, which is considered highly rated and one notch below “AAA,” the highest possible rating attainable.  According to Fitch, “The 'AA+' Issuer Default Rating reflects the city's strong operating performance and financial resilience, a solid revenue framework and a liability burden at the low end of the moderate range, all supported by a growing economic base.”

Fitch assigned their “aa factor assessment” to the City’s Revenue, Expenditure and Long-Term Liability Burden, while assigning their “aaa factor assessment” to the City’s Operating Performance, citing “The combination of revenue and expenditure flexibility, supplemented by reserve funding, should enable the maintenance of a high level of financial flexibility during cyclical economic downturns.”
          
“I was pleased Fitch has concluded our City’s economy is gaining strength from education and health services, after being dominated by the government sector,” said Mayor Stoney. “The fact our economic development efforts have contributed so strongly to our positive credit rating also emboldens us to continue with the ongoing revitalization of Richmond.”

Fitch cited Richmond as a growing metropolitan area and regional center for employment and cultural amenities.  In assessing the City’s credit profile, Fitch found, “Economic development efforts are focused upon leveraging additional growth in the life-sciences sector, enhancing a solid financial services sector and redeveloping select city neighborhoods.” Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn added, “Our attention to key financial best practices and growth in economic development proved to be key drivers in Fitch’s analysis.”

Davenport’s Senior Vice President and Manager of Public Finance, David Rose, concluded “Fitch was clearly impressed by the Mayor’s vision for the City and his approach to making Richmond the best it can be.  This report demonstrates Fitch’s comfort with the new mayor.” Fitch’s summary can be read here.
 


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Richmond Selected as Finalist for RWJF Culture of Health Prize


Richmond has been chosen as a finalist for the fifth annual RWJF Culture of Health Prize given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a finalist, Richmond is one step closer to the national Prize which honors communities that understand health is a shared value and everyone has a role to play in driving change.

“This is truly an amazing recognition as it points to what we have set out to accomplish; a city that works for everyone,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “This selection as a finalist helps reinforce we are moving in the right direction to create a healthy community for all of RVA. We have changed the way we approach public education, poverty and job creation, which enables us to better reach those who need our help the most.”

Selected from more than 200 communities across the country, Richmond joins 10 other finalist communities. Winners will be announced this fall.

“Building a culture of health in Richmond is not just about physical health, “said Richmond City Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula. “It’s about safer, greener neighborhoods, more reliable transportation, cradle to career social and educational supports, and building hope and agency in communities with high rates of poverty. Richmond has been working hard to ensure fairer access to resources for all residents and to become a healthier, more united city, and we are so pleased to advance as a RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalist community.”

The Prize is guided by the principle that every community has the potential to improve and be a healthier place to live and thrive. To earn finalist status, Richmond had to demonstrate how it excelled in the six Prize criteria:

•    Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
•    Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
•    Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health.
•    Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
•    Securing and making the most of available resources.
•    Measuring and sharing progress and results.
    
“The RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalists continue to show what’s possible when communities make health a high priority and bring diverse partners together,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “Our team looks forward to visiting these communities to learn more about how they are leveraging their unique strengths to build a Culture of Health.”

If selected as a Prize winner, Richmond will be given a $25,000 cash prize and opportunities to share their story and lessons learned with the country. They will also join a national network of past winning communities.

To learn about the work of the 27 previous Prize winners, visit rwjf.org/prize.


Monday, March 6, 2017

FY 2018 Annual Fiscal Plan Transmittal Letter


Click here to view the FY 2018 Annual Fiscal Plan Transmittal Letter prepared by Mayor Stoney and submitted to City Council today. The letter contains highlights of the Mayor's proposed FY 2018 budget