Friday, May 15, 2015
Mayor Dwight C. Jones today thanked Richmond City Council for their work on his proposed budget, but offered great caution concerning some of the actions taken during Council’s budget deliberations. The following statement was issued following Council’s budget vote:
“I want to thank Richmond City Council for their hard work and due diligence in thoroughly reviewing my submission of Richmond’s FY2016-FY2017 Biennial Fiscal Plans and five year Capital Improvement Program. Since coming into office, I have consistently presented balanced budgets that have addressed large deficits, have avoided layoffs and furloughs, and have provided services that resulted in minimal disruption to core city services while setting the future direction and growth for our city.
“The budget I presented to City Council brought spending in line with revenues, maintained essential services, met prior commitments and utilized sound fiscal principles, and I’m pleased that 98% of my budget remains intact. We are in agreement about many of the priorities set forth in my budget proposal. We have all worked to increase school funding, to give raises to police officers and fire fighters, and to provide employee salary increases. The Slavery and Heritage site in Shockoe Bottom continues to gain support, Riverfront improvements are protected, and funding has been maintained for significant economic development projects like Stone Brewing in Fulton.
“However, I am deeply concerned that some actions taken by City Council could take us a step backward at a time when our city is experiencing a resurgence. Using major cuts in vacancy funding as well as one-time money as a tool to balance the budget is not sound fiscal policy. It could create operational challenges that are difficult to sustain. These significant cuts seem to have been taken based on an expectation that the City will tap into reserve funds if vacancy funding cuts negatively impact service delivery.
“I want to be clear: I do not support taking reserve funds to pay for ongoing operations. Such actions will only threaten our favorable bond ratings, which if impacted will represent a major step backward for our city. This approach to budgeting is neither advisable nor sustainable.
“Nevertheless, I recognize that we have the shared responsibility to provide the leadership and the strong financial management that our residents expect and deserve. With these budget changes, we will need to make some tough decisions that will impact operations. In doing so, we will work to continue to be prudent and fiscally responsible with our limited resources. We will plan to monitor and provide periodic updates on the impacts on service delivery or other needed changes resulting from these actions.”
Posted by Office of the Press Secretary to the Mayor at 3:41 PM
Richmond’s First Bike Master Plan is Now Complete!
During a Bike to Work rally at the James Center on May 15, Mayor Jones announced the completion of the City of Richmond’s first ever Bicycle Master Plan. Click here to view the City's Bike Master Plan.
The following are Mayor Jones' prepared remarks for the Bike to Work rally.
Good morning residents and cyclists of the city of Richmond and the surrounding metro area. It looks like we picked a nice day for a Bike to Work Rally and I personally thank you all for joining us here!
I really enjoy telling everyone I can that we have a very enthusiastic and significant cycling community here in the city of Richmond.
That fact is proven once again as I see so many of you enjoying this day with us and showing that you have truly embraced the spirit and meaning behind Bike to Work Day.
As you well know, Bike to Work Day is an annual, nationally recognized event to support bicycling as a viable commuting option.
I encourage all of the residents who can, to change their normal commuting behavior to at least bike to work or just for fun once a week.
Biking to work saves you money on fuel and vehicle maintenance, reduces the demand for new roads, and is good for our environment as it reduces air, water, and noise pollution.
And, I believe one of the biggest positives of regular cycling is the health benefits. Regular bicycling helps with personal weight management, cardiovascular health, improved muscle tone, bone mass improvement and even clearer skin.
But most importantly, bicycling is just good plain fun, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of the benefits of regular cycling.
Now this past Wednesday, you may have seen our local media outlets report that American Express Travel discovered what we already know, that Richmond, Virginia is the top U.S. city travel destination to visit this summer.
And what better way to see our beautiful city than on a bike.
This September, more than 1,000 cyclists from 70 different countries will view our great city in this manner over the course of nine days during the 2015 UCI Road World Cycling Championships.
And, thousands of spectators from around the world will descend upon Richmond to witness the 12 Championship races, bringing national and international attention to Virginia’s capital city.
Richmond 2015 and Medalist Sports are busy getting ready for the race aspects of this tremendous event. There is much the City has done and must do to prepare as well.
When we began pursuit of this opportunity, our commitment to the bid package totaled $5.5 million in cash and in-kind support.
The expenditures that we are making in preparation for the World Championships will benefit the city overall, long after the cycling races are completed, and will also count toward that in-kind contribution.
A perfect example of this is the announcement that the 2015 UCI Road World Cycling Championships is the first Road World Cycling Championship to receive the UCI recycling eco-label.
We are implementing many green initiatives for the Worlds and these initiatives will help make Richmond a greener city into the future.
This award is a tremendous achievement and I am extremely pleased to see the embracement of this event, as see this as another opportunity to change the culture of Richmond as it relates to cycling.
I’ve been very determined with this effort and it began long before we even considered bidding for the World cycling championships.
Through recommendations of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Policy I established in January of 2010, the development of a Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission in May of that same year, to the hiring of the City’s first Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator Jakob Helmboldt, I have been deliberate in changing the culture of Richmond to become more bike friendly.
And today, we are going to take the Richmond bike culture to a new level as I am extremely pleased to formally reveal to you today, the very first City of Richmond Bicycle Master Plan!
We have worked hard on this plan, again the City’s first ever Bicycle Master Plan, as it will guide us and our local partners in improving the City’s existing bicycle infrastructure, construction of new facilities for bicyclists, and continue efforts to foster a “bicycling culture” through development of related programs and policies.
This plan will work to diversify mobility for residents and visitors by enhancing the network of bicycle infrastructure and improving safety to create an environment for a wide variety of users.
Now I do not intend to take all the credit for this plan, as it was you, our City’s residents and stake holders, who played a vital part in the development of this plan.
This document was developed with extensive public comment and feedback as we had nearly 3,000 responses to the online survey and several hundred comments and markups made with the online mapping tool.
So I want to personally thank all of you who lent your voice in the creation of this extremely valuable strategy.
The Bike Master Plan was developed as an appendix to the City’s Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan which we completed a few years ago.
The plan is complete, available for you to view on Richmondgov.com, and we eagerly await City Council’s review and approval.
Even after approval, this plan will be a living/guiding document that will evolve as we begin implementing individual projects and make determinations on the most suitable type of infrastructure and improvements along a particular street or corridor.
We are confident that this plan moves Richmond in the right direction to improved biking convenience and safety. And I want to ensure you that we have not been idle while this plan was being developed.
Our Bike Mast Plan details the existing 11 bike lane miles Richmond had prior to FY2013.
I am ecstatic that since then, we have completed an additional 6.1 lane miles of bike infrastructure and we have another 14.5 lane miles of bike infrastructure under construction and this will be completed before the world visits us in September for the Cycling Championships.
And the lane miles of bike infrastructure I just noted does not include the bike miles provided in the completed and under constructed portions of the Virginia Capital Trail and Cannon Creek Greenway.
So if you are not on a bike, I strongly encourage you to get on one this weekend as Richmond has many wonderful cycling opportunities for commuters, enthusiasts and tourists.
Now, when you take in consideration Bike to Work Day and all of you here today at this Bike to Work Day Rally, the World Championships, our new bike Master Plan, all of the bike lane miles and infrastructure improvements that are currently underway and combine all of this with the North Bank, Buttermilk and Buttermilk Heights, Riverside Drive, Bryan Park, Forest Hill Park, Gillies Creek Park, Belle Isle Skills Area, and many others – not to mention the biking that will be done at Riverrock in just a few short hours – its soo easy to see why we are just bike crazy here in RVA!
Thank you all for joining us here today.
I hope you enjoy this Bike to Work Rally and hearing the details of our new Bicycle Master Plan.
Please peddle safely and enjoy your bike ride home.
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Posted by Office of the Press Secretary to the Mayor at 12:05 PM