Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mayor Jones Establishes Working Group

~Funding options for schools is focus of finance experts~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced that the following individuals have agreed to serve as part of a working group reviewing financing options for school needs:

Matt Grossman                 CFO, Health & Beauty Group, MeadWestvaco
Jeff Hemp                         CFO, Philip Morris USA & Director, Altria Client Services
Scott Hetzer                      SVP & Treasurer, Dominion Resources Inc.
Alma Showalter                VP of Tax, Dominion Resources Inc.

“I am grateful to these companies for their willingness to lend us these valuable human resources,” said Mayor Jones. “I’m asking that this group undertake an aggressive review schedule of financing options for schools needs, as I’m eager to chart a course of direction that will ultimately strengthen our school district.”

On August 18, 2014, Mayor Jones outlined a number of financing options the City could explore to support schools. These include:

a)    The use of third-party financing models like public-private partnerships and that can fund repairs while producing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; the savings from which can repay the private company.

b)    The possible use of tax-exempt private activity bonds for the construction of school facilities that could be leased back to the school system.

c)    A look at available tax credits that can be utilized, at the state and federal level and a look at what changes ought to be sought to jump start the use of available tax credits; including also the possible advocacy of an entirely new education tax credit.

d)    Available borrowing options and the implications for the city’s general revenue fund and/or real estate tax rate.

e)    Possible use of capital leases whereby a private company would finance and build a school and lease it back to RPS, who would ultimately own it at the end of the lease period.

The City is anticipating a formal report from the Richmond City School Board in November laying out the prioritized facilities needs of the school system. Mayor Jones indicated that it is his hope that the review of the various financing models the City may want to consider to support schools will be completed within a similar timeframe.