Monday, September 13, 2010

Mayor Jones Announces $6.7 Million Positive Budget Surplus

~Proposes savings as well as funding for low-income GRTC ridership, household weatherization improvements and neighborhood blight efforts~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced an estimated $6.7 million positive budget surplus for fiscal year 2010. The improved performance is attributed to the city's stepped up collection efforts, which have yielded $3.5 million more than anticipated, as well as tightened expenditure controls which have resulted in savings in overall expenditures for the past fiscal year.

"This Administration stands for well-managed government and we've been working to strengthen the city's financial operations and fiscal controls. Today's announcement reflects our improved controls and operational advances," said Mayor Jones. "As I assembled my finance team, I made a commitment to City Council that you would receive financial information on a more-timely basis. Not only is the information more timely, but it is welcomed news that gives us resources to address some other areas of concern."

Fiscal Year 2010 ended June 30th of this year. In the past, Richmond City Council received year-end budget information in the November time-frame. Mayor Jones plans to submit a paper tonight detailing his plans for the use of funds.

"We'd like to see these funds used primarily in two areas: well-managed government and what I call people-focused initiatives," said Mayor Jones. Expressing continued concern for the pending rate increase from Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC), Mayor Jones proposed $500,000 to help capitalize a fund that will subsidize GRTC ridership for the working poor and low-income riders. One million dollars is being proposed for a Neighborhood Blight Remediation program and a Low-income Weatherization Program. Another $1.7 million is being recommended for various capital improvement projects to include street, sidewalks, and bikeways. The mayor also proposed to save $3.75 million -- over half of the surplus. Two million dollars is to be designated for a revenue stabilization fund for unanticipated needs or obligations.

"Most localities agree that you cannot simply rely on state government to continue to meet many of the needs they've met in the past. We must be prepared for unforeseen obligations and this stabilization fund is a smart move for a well-managed government," said Mayor Jones.

The Mayor has asked City Council to approve the proposed expenditures within the next two weeks as the Administration has scheduled its regular visit with bond rating agencies at the end of September. The actions to establish a revenue stabilization fund, to invest in city infrastructure with non-borrowed funds, as well as efforts to reduce poverty are encouraged by the rating agencies and can help the city move toward a Triple A bond rating.

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