Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nearly 1,600 Richmond Alleys Already Repaired in 2017


Click here to view the video from the press conference.
Mayor Levar M. Stoney today recognized Department of Public Works (DPW) crews for making repairs to nearly 1,600 alleys in the City of Richmond.

What started as an ambitious endeavor to repair, re-grade and re-gravel 1,300 alleys by the end of September has turned into a far greater DPW success. Mayor Stoney joined DPW crews in the recently-repaired alley of North Nansemond Street (between Ellwood Avenue and Floyd Avenue) to thank city crews for their hard work and for exceeding the yearly goal by nearly 300 alleys.

“This is a great accomplishment,” said Mayor Stoney. “I thank DPW Director Bobby Vincent and his team for answering the call of citizens to do more, and to step up these repairs so desperately needed in our alleyways.”

DPW began an ally repair blitz in late June, expecting to complete the 1,300 alleys goal by the end of September. But crews have repaired 1,580 alleys to date, and repair work will continue as weather conditions permit. The repairs made this year have totaled 103 miles, more than half the combined distance of all city alleyways.

Crews have also exceeded last year’s pothole filling total of 18,000 potholes, and have filled more than 23,700 as of November 2017.

For more information on DPW services and schedules, please visit RichmondGov.com.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Monument Avenue Commission Announces Expanded Engagement


The Monument Avenue Commission announced a wide-ranging plan for community engagement at its organizational work session meeting on Tuesday.

From January through April of 2018, the Commission will conduct outreach with stakeholders, community and other interested groups designed to facilitate constructive dialogue that will allow more direct contact with residents through varying meeting formats.

Starting in December, interested groups will be able to submit a request for a delegation of Commission members to attend a meeting to discuss the monuments. The commission will endeavor to meet all reasonable requests to engage on the issue during this time period.  
  
“The next phase of the Commission’s work will focus on productive working sessions with engaged groups and residents and facilitated though different categories such as artistic and creative design, historic preservation and social justice,” said Commission Co-Chair Christy Coleman. 

“We feel the new format and focus will help best cover the myriad issues of this very complex and important discussion,” said Commission Co-Chair Gregg Kimball. “We look forward to the outreach sessions with the community.”

Commission members also discussed incorporating a general public hearing on its progress in the spring of 2018.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Commission presented an overview of the more than 1,100 public submissions received to date and announced that all submissions will be published on the Commission’s website in early December. 

Richmond City Attorney Allen Jackson outlined his recent binding legal opinion that, for the time-being, the City must obtain legislative approval from the General Assembly to remove the statues but left open the possibility of interpretation through other methods. (Opinion can be viewed here).  

The Commission also detailed and demonstrated the vast and growing historical resources available from the American Civil War Museum, with support from the Library of Virginia, The Valentine Museum and the Virginia Historical Society that are online at onmonumentave.com for the public to learn more.   

The Commission’s web site (monumentavenuecommission.org) continues to be available for accepting public comment. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Richmond Completes 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Nearly Three Weeks Early


Mayor Levar M. Stoney this evening announced Richmond has completed the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which is due to the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts November 30.

This is the first time in four years the city has filed the report on time or before the state-imposed deadline. The 2015 and 2016 CAFRs were filed nearly a year and five months late respectively, causing consternation among members of City Council and the public. Mayor Stoney made a campaign promise and inaugural commitment that the 2017 CAFR would be completed on time, and the city’s Finance Department delivered.  

“Your government is now working better and more efficiently,” said Mayor Stoney. “We made this a top priority this year, and the Finance Department did a tremendous job. I am pleased to provide the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts and our City Council with timely audited financial statements that show Richmond is moving in the right direction.”

The CAFR consists of financial audit statements completed in compliance with the accounting and financial reporting standards established by the US Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

“The 2017 CAFR shows Richmond now stands squarely on solid financial ground,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Lenora Reid. The 2017 CAFR will be posted on the Finance page of the City’s website, under the Financial Reports section.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Announces Land Purchase Agreement in Larus Park Water Project with Chesterfield


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities has entered into a contract to purchase 18.2 acres of forested land adjoining Larus Park, where 1.2 acres will be used to locate a pump station and ground storage tank as part of an agreement to provide an additional 5 million gallons of drinking water a day to Chesterfield County.
Pending the approval of City Council, the acquisition from the Redford Land Trust will enlarge the footprint of the existing park by 25 percent, and dramatically increase the forested canopy that will be lost as part of the public works project.
“This is a better outcome and a win-win for our residents,” said Mayor Stoney. “Residents will get acres of additional, undisturbed, undeveloped park land which can be used for hiking trails and other passive uses. Our successful water utility will upgrade its infrastructure and return an additional $4.1 million in additional revenue over the next five years to help offset operations and maintenance costs to Richmond ratepayers. And we will be doing the right thing by helping our neighbor in Chesterfield.”
An Ordinance to allow the City to amend its Water Contract with Chesterfield County was submitted to Council in April 2017. After residents expressed concerns about the impact the public works project would have on Larus Park, Mayor Stoney directed the project team to reevaluate options. The result is a modified solution that will not only provide water to Chesterfield County, but also improve water supply reliability and resiliency to City residents while preserving and increasing the size of Larus Park.     
As part of the public works project, the City will purchase the land for $420,000 from the Redford Land Trust, which signed an agreement of sale last week. In addition, the County of Chesterfield will pay $91,136 to compensate the City of Richmond for trees removed as part of the project, and the City will apply the funds to the purchase price of the additional park land.  The additional land will be managed by the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.
Chesterfield County will continue to pay its fair share of costs for ongoing operations and maintenance of city facilities as well as their percentage of joint and direct capital costs each year.  The County will pay an additional 3.8% share each year for all capital projects completed at the water treatment plant (the County’s total share of water plant capital projects will be 24.24% verse its current 20.45% share). Without the sale of this additional capacity to Chesterfield, City residents would be allocated these costs.  
“This project is part of the ongoing regional effort for a safe and resilient drinking water supply for all, now and into the future,” said Robert C. Steidel, the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Operations. 
BACKGROUND: This project builds on decades of cooperative regional water supply planning for Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond. As a wholesale water customer of the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County has requested an additional five million gallons per day of water capacity for Chesterfield County water customers. The City’s treated water supply is sufficient to allow this increase purchase. The additional water will be delivered to a pump station and ground storage tank located adjacent to the City’s existing Huguenot Road pump station on approximately 1.2 acres of land that the City will lease to Chesterfield. This project will provide Chesterfield county residents with up to an additional five million gallons per day of drinking water, an increase from 27 million gallons to 32 million gallons. The project will also provide City residents with more resilient and reliable water service to this portion of the City and fire protection for residents not currently in range of City fire hydrants.  
For more information, please contact Rhonda Johnson, City Department of Public Utilities: (804) 646-5463 or Rhonda.Johnson@Richmondgov.com.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

City Issues Request for Proposals for Major Downtown Redevelopment Project



Mayor Levar M. Stoney today formally announced that the city has posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) to spur redevelopment of a significant portion of real estate located in the neighborhood north of Broad Street in downtown Richmond.

The RFP addresses a project area that is generally bounded on the west by North 5th Street, on the north by East Leigh Street, on the east by North 10th Street and on the south by East Marshall Street. The project area consists of properties that have been identified as an economic opportunity area in the Pulse Corridor Plan, which was recently adopted by City Council as part of the City’s Master Plan. 
The North of Broad/Downtown Neighborhood Redevelopment Project will include a number of economic development components aimed at revitalizing underutilized city assets and improving the quality of life for Richmond residents in the areas of employment, housing and transportation.
Components to be addressed by potential respondents include:
* A replacement for the Richmond Coliseum
* Mixed income and affordable housing
* Local job creation and local hiring with Minority Business Enterprise and ESB participation goals
* A replacement of the GRTC transfer station
* A Convention Center hotel
* Historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the Blues Armory
“The goals of this RFP are bold,” said Mayor Stoney, but provide an opportunity to achieve a number of strategic objectives for the City. “To expand economic development and affordable housing opportunities; to generate revenue while achieving poverty mitigation through jobs and training; to provide historic preservation and community revitalization, to promote and support tourism, and to ensure sustainable development and investments in infrastructure.”
But Mayor Stoney made it clear that the City will not entertain any proposals that require the city to use its existing tax revenue or debt capacity to fund the project.  The City will not incur any moral or general obligation bonds to fund any private component of a proposal, but is willing to consider proposals that incorporate tax increment financing or the creation of special service districts. 
“We have too much to do for schools, housing, roads and other city priorities to leverage our limited borrowing capacity for this redevelopment,” Mayor Stoney said.
Prospective developers will have 90 days to submit proposals. City officials expect this to be a highly competitive process. A copy of the RFP can be found here.
“We are setting a high bar for our respondents,” said Mayor Stoney. “But that’s what we have to do if we want true neighborhood revitalization. This is a great opportunity for our city, and we want all of Richmond to benefit. By leveraging City-owned land, we can achieve transformational change. We look forward to receiving proposals that will continue our growth and serve the best interests of Richmond.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mayor Stoney, Governor McAuliffe announce Vision To Learn to Provide Free Eye Exams and Free Glasses to Students in Richmond Public Schools


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and are proud to announce an initiative to provide thousands of Richmond public school students with free vision care, through a collaboration between nonprofits Vision To Learn and Conexus. The effort, which began October 26th at Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary School, will provide free vision screenings to over 20,000 students, and eye exams and glasses to over 7,000 students in Richmond.

“If you can’t see, you can’t read. And if you can’t read, you can’t succeed,” said Mayor Stoney. “Richmond is grateful for this partnership and proud to be the first Virginia community in which every child, K-12, will be provided the glasses they need to achieve inside and outside of the classroom.”

Over 7,000 kids in Richmond go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book or participate in the classroom. Conexus will provide vision screenings to every child in Richmond Public Schools. Vision To Learn will provide each child who did not pass the initial screening with an eye exam, and if needed then, glasses.

“We’re delighted to provide kids in Richmond the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn Founder and Chairman, Austin Beutner. “Vision To Learn serves kids in more than 200 cities from Baltimore to Hawaii. We look forward to working with Governor McAuliffe, Mayor Stoney, Richmond Public Schools, and Conexus to help kids in Richmond.”

“As a longtime provider of vision screenings to students in Richmond, Conexus knows that thousands of RPS students need an eye exam and glasses. This partnership will help those students get the help they need,” said Conexus Chairman of the Board Mrs. Roxane Gilmore.

The initiative is supported with funding by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Robins Foundation, and Richmond Community Foundation.

“Launching this program in Richmond is the first step toward ensuring that our students have all of the tools they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Governor McAuliffe, who signed legislation this year codifying routine and high-quality eye exams in public schools in Virginia. “Across the Commonwealth, an estimated 100,000 students lack eyeglasses. That’s why the work of organizations like Conexus and Vision to Learn is so critical. Through efforts like these, we can help thousands more students obtain the skills needed to thrive in the new Virginia economy.”

Students with untreated vision problems often struggle at school, and are less likely to achieve reading proficiency by third grade, putting them at greater risk of dropping out.
“Students who need glasses and don’t have them, are at a learning disadvantage,” said RPS Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz. “Eyeglasses distributed today and throughout this program are one of the most important tools in creating a better educational experience for our students.”

The centerpiece of Thursday’s launch event was students receiving and trying on their glasses for the first time. Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary is the first school to be served by this effort; over the past month, all 389 students were screened and 32% were found to have a potential vision problem. 104 students received eye exams, and 97 were prescribed glasses.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

City of Richmond Partnering with OpenGov to Improve Budget Management Capabilities and Financial Reporting


Today, the City of Richmond announced it is partnering with OpenGov, a leading data management vendor specializing in government budgeting, reporting and operational performance technologies. The partnership was established to further increase budgetary effectiveness, transparency and accountability. 

OpenGov will be integrated with the city’s existing financial system and provide a cloud-based platform featuring uses for budgeting and both budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reporting. 

“This partnership provides our city government with a means to improve services and build public trust,” said Jay Brown, the Director of Budget and Strategic Planning. “This improved technology will allow us to streamline our budget development process, make numerous enhancements in terms of innovation and improve collaboration across city departments.”

On average, the more than 1,600 city, county and state governments using OpenGov have cut the time spent building their budgets by half, and the time spent preparing subsequent budget and financial reports by 80 percent. 

Richmond will now be able to seamlessly compile and compare multiple years of data, for example, as opposed to manually assembling vast amounts of numbers and figures within cumbersome and outdated spreadsheets still in use by many governments. This in turn will free up more city resources to be invested in and reallocated to other public services.

“Bottom line,” added Lenora Reid, Richmond’s DCAO for Finance and Administration, “this will be utilized to ensure our CAFRs are submitted on time and to further increase both transparency and accountability.”

Monday, October 23, 2017

Richmond’s Tax Amnesty Program Results in Over $2.79 Million in Signed Commitments and Payments for Delinquent Taxes


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today declared Richmond’s 2017 tax amnesty initiative an overwhelming success, resulting in signed commitments or payments for delinquent taxes in an amount totaling nearly $2.8 million (over $2.79 million).

“We chose to offer an incentive before initiating more aggressive collection measures for delinquent taxes,” said Mayor Stoney. “Taxes pay for our schools, public safety and other critical needs; we took this initiative to increase our revenues now, and it worked.”

Those owing real estate, business personal property (excluding vehicles), business license, admissions, meals and/or lodging taxes, as of February 1, 2017, had an opportunity to pay the original tax amount owed, with all penalties and interest waived. The amnesty program lasted two months, from August 15 through October 16. Vehicle personal property taxes and vehicle license taxes and fees were not eligible for the program.

The full balance due (less penalties and interest) had to either be paid in full by October 16, or a 6-month payment plan with 25% down must have been arranged for those deemed eligible. The $2.79 in payments and payment commitments exceeded the city’s tax amnesty collection goal by over $390,000.

Richmond spent a fraction of the state’s marketing and advertising budget for the state-wide tax amnesty program still underway, and less than was originally budgeted by the city’s Finance Department to promote the initiative. Richmond invested just over three percent of the nearly $2.8 million secured for amnesty marketing and advertising, which included use of social media advertising for the first time in the city’s history.

"I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the Finance Department staff members who stepped up and worked evenings and weekends to serve our taxpayers and bring in this much-needed revenue to the city," said John Wack, Director of Finance.

A full report detailing the overwhelming success of the 2017 tax amnesty program will soon be submitted to the Finance and Economic Development Committee of City Council.


 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mayor Stoney, Sprint and Richmond Public Schools Announce Free Device and Wireless Service Program


Today at George Wythe High School, Mayor Levar M. Stoney joined Sprint Regional President Brian Hedlund, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz and RPS School Board Chair Dawn Page to announce RPS participation in the first year of the Sprint and the Sprint Foundation’s 1Million Project. The program will provide participating RPS high school students will receive free devices with free wireless service.

“Through the 1Million Project, we will begin to bridge the technology divide that puts our kids at a disadvantage when they go home to do their school work and don’t have access to the online resources they need,” said Mayor Stoney. “If we want our children to succeed, if we want them to compete and build a brighter future, we need to give them the tools to do so, and we must connect them to opportunity.”



Nationwide, about 70 percent of high school teachers assign homework to be completed online, yet more than 5 million families with kids do not have internet access at home. Sprint created the 1Million Project to help close the Homework Gap by providing 1 million free devices to high school students over the next 5 years.



“Having access to technology can be the bridge to academic success for many high school students,” said Brian Hedlund, Sprint President for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia Region. “Our goal with the 1Million Project is to help close the homework gap that exists for some of our youth in Richmond. These devices and internet service will provide academic opportunities that extend well beyond their classroom doors.”



Richmond Public Schools is one of 118 school districts (over 180,000 students in 1,300 schools) participating across the country. Sprint will be giving 1,050 RPS students a free wireless internet capable device and wireless service while in high school for up to 4 years. 



"Richmond Public Schools is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Sprint on this initiative to increase our efforts in providing equitable educational opportunities for our students," said Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz. "We appreciate the support of the mayor and the City of Richmond in helping us to level the 'learning field' and eliminate the homework gap by ensuring that our students who do not have internet access at home receive these devices as an additional learning resource. This collaborative partnership will positively impact the academic success of our students." 



"On behalf of the school board, I would like to thank our school administration for their hard work in coordinating this effort as well as Mayor Stoney for his continuous support of Richmond Public Schools," said School Board Chair Dawn Page. "It takes all of us -- our city leadership, our school board, our school administration and partners like Sprint all working together to make a real difference in the lives of our students."


For more information on the Sprint 1Million Project, contact Roni Singleton, Eronia.Singleton@sprint.com or call 703-929-3655.

For information regarding RPS student participation, contact Kenita Bowers, kbowers@rvaschools.net or call 804-780-7100.

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announces Administration Appointments



Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Director Robert Steidel will now serve as the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Operations.

Steidel has served as the city’s DPU director since March of 2011, after serving as interim director starting in July of 2010. He oversaw five utilities:  gas, water, wastewater, stormwater, electric street lighting and both the utility and non-utility call centers serving more than 500,000 residential and commercial customers in the surrounding metropolitan area. In his new role, Steidel will maintain control over DPU and add the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) to his management portfolio.

“Bob’s experience and commitment to the city make him the right person for the job,” said Mayor Stoney. “I know he will continue to serve Richmond’s residents well.”

Mayor Stoney is also pleased to announce Christopher Frelke will serve as the new director for the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. Frelke has been serving as an Adjunct Professor in Organization Management at Mount Olive University in North Carolina. Previously, he held a number of positions for over 12 years in the City of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department, including Assistant Recreation Superintendent, Senior Staff Analyst and Program Director.

“Our parks and recreation facilities play a vital role in our residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m looking forward to the ideas and engagement Chris will bring to city government in this important role.”

Steidel will assume his new position Sept. 30; Frelke will start Oct. 30.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

City of Richmond to use CodeRED Emergency Notification System


The City of Richmond is encouraging all residents, visitors and businesses to sign up for a new mass notification system known as CodeRED. This system will allow city officials to quickly deliver alert messages regarding emergency situations.

“Keeping our residents, visitors and businesses safe and informed at all times is important,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “CodeRED is another tool the city is providing to help citizens stay safe and informed.”

Users can sign up for emergency alerts and weather warnings, and the notifications can be sent to a cell phones, landlines or email addresses. The CodeRED system also has the ability to use Geographical Information System (GIS) technology to target specific areas based on emergency situations.

"The CodeRED system will give residents, visitors and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into a database to receive emergency alerts” continued the mayor. “If your contact information is not in the database, you may not be able to receive alerts. No one should assume his or her phone number is automatically included.”

Mayor Stoney is urging all individuals and businesses to visit the city of Richmond’s website, richmondgov.com and click the CodeRED button at the top of the page to register, or click here.

As part of the roll out, CodeRED will be making an inaugural call to help calibrate the system in the next couple weeks.

Residents, visitors and people who work but do not live in City of Richmond are encouraged to register and download the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app.

For more information, please contact Derek.Andresen@richmondgov.com or call (804) 646-6140.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announces Department of Public Works Milestone, Repairs 20,000th Pothole in City


Today Mayor Levar M. Stoney went to Highland Park to announce a milestone in the administration’s efforts to deliver improved services to the residents of Richmond, joining a crew from the Department of Public Works (DPW) to repair the 20,000th pothole in the city since he took office January 1.


During the entirety of 2016, work crews repaired 18,000 potholes. Reaching 20,000 potholes repaired in only eight months is an indication of the significant progress the administration and DPW have made toward addressing the city’s infrastructure needs.

Early in the year, three DPW crews (including both temporary workers and full-time city employees), began completing 50 potholes per crew daily on average. Currently, there are fewer than 50 open tickets in the system thanks to the department’s diligence. 

DPW has also made progress on repairing long-neglected city alleyways. In the first eight months of the new administration, work crews under DPW Director Bobby Vincent Jr. have graded over 1,000 alleys – the equivalent of more than 70 miles of alleys across the city. The goal is to reach 1,300 alleys (86+ miles) before the end of September.

City workers have also significantly reduced the backlog for bulk and brush pickup requests. In September, 2016, there were 2,630 “open” requests and nearly half of them were more than a month old. As of the end of August, 2017, there are 265 “open” requests and 96 percent are less than two weeks old.

“This kind of progress and improvement is what we work toward every day to make life better for our residents,” said Mayor Stoney. “I commend the efforts of DPW director, Bobby Vincent, and our hard-working DPW crews, who have taken on the challenge of literally taking the bumps out of the roads we travel. We still have work to do, but we’re are on the right path to a Richmond that works better.”

The Department of Public Works has been preparing for the upcoming winter and the toll it takes on city streets. Two pothole patching machines are being purchased which are capable of filling 50 potholes per day with one operator on board.

For more information about DPW operations, please contact DPW and Sharon North at Sharon.North@Richmondgov.com or call (804) 646-5607.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Richmond Launches New Investor Relations Website




Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond has partnered with BondLink, a Boston-based financial technology company, and launched a new investor relations website to attract more investors and diversify the city’s investor base.

Now live, richmondvabonds.com will better communicate with current and potential bond investors who invest in the city’s public infrastructure projects. The website contains over 2,500 pages of data and documents and utilizes a corporate-style investor platform providing insight into the credit fundamentals behind Richmond’s AA+/Aa2/AA+ ratings.

“This is a tool to attract new investment in Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “At the same time, it furthers our commitment to being as transparent as possible.”

The website and new investor platform is available to citizens as well as bond investors. It now consolidates the city’s data and documents valuable to bond investors and rating agencies, providing quick and easy access to extensive financial information.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RVA Bike Share Ready to Roll


Mayor Levar M. Stoney will launch the RVA Bike Share program on Tuesday, August 29 at 9 a.m. at Kanawha Plaza and lead cyclists on a 2-mile ride from across the Manchester Bridge to the T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge, ending at Browns Island.

“Bike sharing programs are a community transportation service and desired amenity provided by forward thinking and environmentally conscious cities,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am proud Richmond is now among those leading in this regard.”

Richmond has teamed up with Canada-based Bewegen Technologies Inc., an industry bike share leader, to supply the bicycles and docking stations. The equipment will be maintained by Corps Logistics, a Baltimore-based firm owned and operated by military veterans.

The initial phase includes 220 8-speed bikes and 20 docking stations located throughout the city. A second phase is expected to be implemented in the coming months, doubling the fleet and including electric assist PedElec bikes, making it easier to ride uphill. These hi-tech bicycles will be equipped with a color screen, live GPS and can be unlocked through a mobile app.

RVA Bike Share is a public-private initiative, and Mayor Stoney has written a letter to encourage Richmond’s corporate and business leaders to engage in sponsorship opportunities necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program. Click here to read the mayor’s letter.

Plans for RVA Bike Share have been in the works since 2012. The city was awarded a $1,064,000 federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant in 2014 to start the program, supplementing $280,000 in capital improvement funds made available by the city.

One-way trip and daily passes will be available as well as weekly, monthly and yearly memberships. For more information about RVA Bike Share, pricing, membership and sponsorship opportunities, please visit rvabikes.com.





Monday, August 21, 2017

RVA Education Compact Passes Unanimously


Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce the unanimous passage of resolutions by both the Richmond Public School Board and City Council establishing the RVA Education Compact.

Passage of the Compact marks the first time the RPS Board, City Council and administration have entered into a formal agreement to work together to develop collaborative solutions addressing the needs of our school children both inside and outside of the classroom.

“We took a significant step today toward improving public education in the City of Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney.

“I’d like to thank all the members of City Council and School Board for their commitment to this collaborative process, as well as the public who participated and offered their feedback and comment on previous drafts over the last several months.

“I look forward to working with the council and board on shared strategies to drive down child poverty while lifting up academic performance in our schools.”

Mayor Stoney has directed his senior policy advisor for opportunity, Dr. Thad Williamson, to work with Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz to develop and finalize an operating plan for the Compact, including a detailed schedule of meeting dates and timeline for action. That plan will be made available to the City Council and School Board at each body’s next schedule meetings.

It is anticipated the first joint quarterly meeting between the mayor, council and board will take place in September, with the first formal meeting of the Richmond Children’s Cabinet also taking place then.
The Education Compact stakeholder team is expected to be finalized by the end of September as well, with its first meeting due to take place in October.

The mayor’s office will continue working over the next month to establish a dedicated website for the Compact to host all documents, data and relevant information.

Copies of the mayor’s remarks to the joint meeting of the City Council and School Board can be found here. Copies of the resolutions approved can be found here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on Monument Avenue


When I spoke about the monuments earlier this summer, it was from an optimism that we can take the power away from these statues by telling their true story, for the first time.

As I said in June, it is my belief that, as they currently stand without explanation, the confederate statues on Monument Avenue are a default endorsement of a shameful period in our national and city history that do not reflect the values of inclusiveness, equality and diversity we celebrate in today’s Richmond. 

I wish they had never been built. 

Still, I believed that as a first step, there was a need to set the historical record straight. That is why I asked the Monument Avenue Commission to solicit public input and to suggest a complete and truthful narrative of these statues, who built them and why they were erected. 

When it comes to these complicated questions that involve history, slavery, Jim Crow and war, we all must have the humility to admit that our answers are inherently inadequate. These are challenges so fundamental to the history of our country, commonwealth, and city that reducing them to the question of whether or not a monument should remain is, by definition, an oversimplification. 

But context is important in both historical, and present day, perspectives. While we had hoped to use this process to educate Virginians about the history behind these monuments, the events of the last week may have fundamentally changed our ability to do so by revealing their power to serve as a rallying point for division and intolerance and violence. 

These monuments should be part of our dark past and not of our bright future. I personally believe they are offensive and need to be removed. But I believe more in the importance of dialogue and transparency by pursuing a responsible process to consider the full weight of this decision. 

Effective immediately, the Monument Avenue Commission will include an examination of the removal and/or relocation of some or all of the confederate statues.

Continuing this process will provide an opportunity for the public to be heard and the full weight of this decision to be considered in a proper forum where we can have a constructive and civil dialogue.

Let me be clear: we will not tolerate allowing these statues and their history to be used as a pretext for hate and violence, or to allow our city to be threatened by white supremacists and neo-Nazi thugs. We will protect our city and keep our residents safe.

As I said a few weeks ago, our conversation about these Monuments is important. But what is more important to our future is focusing on building higher-quality schools, alternatives to our current public housing that provide dignity and safety for all, and policies to provide opportunities for all Richmonders to succeed.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Richmond to Offer Amnesty to City Taxpayers


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced, for a limited time, Richmond will offer tax amnesty benefits to citizens owing certain back taxes. The program will begin next Tuesday, August 15 and run through October 16, 2017.

“This is the chance for citizens who owe to get right with the city,” said Mayor Stoney. “Our schools, police and other vital city services are paid for with tax revenues, and they’ve been shortchanged by millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.”

Taxpayers can benefit from this one-time opportunity to pay taxes without incurring or paying penalties and interest. Eligibility includes all individuals and businesses owing real estate taxes, business personal property taxes (excluding vehicles), business license taxes, admissions taxes, lodging taxes and meals taxes as of February 1, 2017. Vehicle personal property taxes and vehicle license taxes and fees are not eligible for this amnesty program.

“The city is owed tens of millions of dollars in back taxes,” said the city’s finance director John Wack. “The mayor has given us a mandate to collect these taxes, and we’re hoping our offer of amnesty will incentivize and compel citizens to step forward and satisfy these debts now.”

The full balance due (less penalties and interest) must either be paid in full by October 16, or a 6-month payment plan must be arranged for those deemed eligible, which include those with accounts that have been assigned to one of the city’s collection agencies.

Taxpayers must sign up in person at City Hall (900 E Broad Street) or at Southside Plaza (4100 Hull Street Rd). Extended hours will also be offered until 7 p.m. on Thursdays August 17, September 14 and October 12, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 19, September 16 and October 14.

Citizens can call (804) 646-3954 with questions regarding real estate taxes. Call (804) 646-6662 for business personal property and business license tax questions. Call (804) 646-3631 to inquire about payment plans.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/RVAtaxdeal. Questions can also be submitted via email: tax.amnesty@richmondgov.com.

Watch the Tax Amnesty video here.

To view this release in Spanish, click here. For the video with Spanish subtitles, click here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Panattoni to Build New State-of-the-Art Distribution Center Across from Richmond Marine Terminal


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Newport Beach, CA-based Panattoni Development Company, Inc., one of the largest full-service development companies in the world, has acquired over 62 acres for development of a new state-of-the-art distribution center to be located along Commerce Rd., just south of the Bells Rd. / I-95 interchange and across from Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) at the Port of Virginia.

John Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Port of Virginia, said Panattoni’s confidence in Virginia’s business environment “will create more supply chain capacity in Central Virginia,” among numerous other benefits.

Panattoni will proceed in two phases, with plans that include and total nearly one million square feet of cross-dock warehouses with multiple trailer drops. Phase one is expected to be completed by late summer 2018. In welcoming Panattoni to the city’s port area, Mayor Stoney said, “Richmond is happening; we’re on the move and we are growing as an epicenter of trade and commerce.”

Richmond’s 8th District Councilwoman Reva Trammell, in whose district RMT is located, cited the jobs and new employment this development will create. “This adds to the health of our economy in a myriad of ways,” said Councilwoman Trammell. “It will ultimately lower our unemployment rate and benefit us citywide.” Richmond Marine Terminal is located along the west bank of the James River, is owned by the City of Richmond and is leased by the Virginia Port Authority.

“We were influenced by the positive momentum taking place at the Port of Virginia,” said William Hudgins, Panattoni’s senior development manager for the Mid-Atlantic market. “We’re now looking forward to being an integral part of this momentum.”

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mayor Stoney Hosts Brown Bag Lunches with City Departments


Mayor Levar M. Stoney began hosting brown bag lunches with city departments and their directors last week. These lunches have been initiated as part of the process to implement recommendations from the performance review completed by VCU’s Performance Management Group earlier this year.

“I am having real dialogue with front line employees and giving them an opportunity to be heard,” said Mayor Stoney. “Their concerns, ideas and recommendations play a critical part in bringing needed changes to City Hall.”

Mayor Stoney will meet with every city department in the coming weeks, with the following already scheduled:
  • Budget
  • Community Wealth Building
  • Economic & Community Development
  • Emergency Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Justice Services
  • Minority Business Development
  • Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities
  • Planning & Development Review
  • Public Utilities
  • Public Works
  • Richmond Animal Care & Control
  • Social Services

Friday, July 28, 2017

Schedule of Monument Avenue Commission Work Group Meetings


State of Confederate Memorials Group: Examine what other communities and institutions are doing around the country to address Confederate memorials and monuments.

Monday, July 31
1:30 p.m.
Department of Historic Resources
2801 Kensington Ave.

Historians Review Group: Provide additional historical background on existing monuments and information on community-proposed additions to Monument Avenue.

Tuesday, August 1
10:30 a.m.
Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad St.

New Monuments and Interpretation Group: If monuments are added, where can they best be erected and interpreted? What are our interpretive options?

Wednesday, August 2
1 p.m.
Department of Historic Resources
2801 Kensington Ave.

Community Engagement Group: Establish rules for community engagement and how the public sessions should be structured.

Wednesday, August 2
3 p.m.
Black History Museum
122 W. Leigh St.

The Monument Avenue Commission has set the following dates for public meetings:

Wednesday, August 9
6:30 p.m.
Virginia Historical Society
428 N. Boulevard

Wednesday, September 13
6:30 p.m.
Virginia Historical Society
428 N. Boulevard

For contact information and more about the Monument Avenue Commission, please click here; for more about the Virginia Historical Society, please click here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Update on the RVA Education Compact


Following the successful joint City Council-School Board meeting on June 26, a resolution expressing support for the launch of the RVA Education Compact was introduced by City Council on Monday, July 17 for potential adoption on July 24. A parallel resolution will be introduced by the School Board at its meeting on August 7.

The introduced City Council resolution can be found here.

The most recent version of the draft School Board resolution can be found here.

An accompanying letter from Mayor Stoney to members of City Council and the School Board can be found here.

The RVA Education Compact is a collaborative and coordinated plan based on the fact our government, schools and community must work together to meet our challenges and ensure a brighter future for our children. Mayor Stoney is looking forward to working closely with School Board and City Council to meet the needs of children in the City of Richmond, both inside and outside the classroom.

Mayor Stoney and City’s Department of Planning & Development Review Launch Richmond 300


To watch the full video of the event, click here.

This morning Mayor Levar M. Stoney and the Department of Planning and Development Review (PDR) hosted a launch event for Richmond 300 overlooking the entire city from the Observation Deck of City Hall. Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth is the city’s Master Plan. Richmond 300 will establish a 20-year vision for the city’s growth and be developed with extensive community input. In 2037, Richmond will celebrate its 300th anniversary. What do Richmonders want the city to look like when it turns 300?

"Richmond is growing, and we all share in the responsibility of managing how we grow,” said Mayor Stoney. "This is a massive undertaking that involves aligning the myriad of City Hall efforts – overcoming the segmented approach and breaking down silos – and having one road map for the growth of our city."

Richmond 300 will be developed with extensive community engagement. As such, there will be numerous ways to participate – some more time-intensive than others. A full description of engagement opportunities can be found here, but some of the engagement opportunities include:
  • Apply for the Advisory Team. The Advisory Team is the most intense way for a citizen to be engaged in Richmond 300. The Advisory Team serves as 1) a sounding board to help shape the content of Richmond 300; and 2) liaisons to the community by helping build awareness and participating in the plan update process. Members will be selected via an open application call, selected by the director of PDR, Master Plan Project Manager, Advisory Team Co-Chairs and a Special Advisor to the Mayor before being confirmed by the City Planning Commission. If you or someone you know meets the qualifications outlined in the application and has the time to commit to the Advisory Team, please consider applying. Applications are due August 21 and can be found here.
  • Serve as a Richmond 300 Ambassador. The Richmond 300 Ambassadors are volunteers who assist in spreading the word about the Master Plan and assist at community events. Email richmond300@richmondgov.com to volunteer.
  • Serve on an Advisory Work Team. These sub-committees to the Advisory Team will be established in 2018. More information will become available as the Master Plan progresses.
  • Join the Richmond 300 email list. Email richmond300@richmondgov.com to be added to the list.
  • Follow Richmond 300 on Facebook and Instagram. Share the posts with your friends.
  • Look for many more opportunities that will become available as the process continues. These opportunities will include mobile meetings, planner’s office hours, online surveys, town halls and more.
Please submit any questions you may have to richmond300@richmondgov.com.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Monument Avenue Commission Meetings Set


The Monument Avenue Commission has set the following dates for public meetings:

Wednesday, Aug. 9
6:30 p.m.    Location:
                   Virginia Historical Society
                   428 N. Boulevard

Wednesday, Sept. 13
6:30 p.m.    Location:
                   Virginia Historical Society
                   428 N. Boulevard

For contact information and more about the Monument Avenue Commission, please click here; for more about the Virginia Historical Society, please click here.



Thursday, June 29, 2017

HUD Awards City over $2.7 Million to Protect Children and Families from Lead and Other Home Hazards


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond and project:HOMES have been awarded a $2,710,314 Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to protect low-income children and families from lead and other home hazards.

Mayor Stoney extended his appreciation and congratulations to the city¹s Department of Economic and Community Development and their housing and neighborhood division project development manager, Dan Mouer, the Richmond City Health District staff and their program manager for the Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes Initiative, Dona Huang, the city's grant coordinator, Christopher Johnston and all those who worked with them on this grant application to secure funds to make low-income housing safer and healthier.

The over $2.7 million coming to the city is part of more than $127 million awarded by HUD to 48 state and local government agencies to keep families and their children safe from lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards.

”Richmond is working diligently to serve all our citizens,” said Mayor Stoney. ”The important work done to secure this sizable grant paid off, and the resulting investment we can now make will tangibly improve the lives of our low-income residents.”

The grants direct critical funds to cities, counties and states in thousands of privately-owned, low-income housing units. The award includes Healthy Homes supplemental funding to help Richmond and other communities mitigate multiple health hazards in high-risk housing simultaneously, in conjunction with their lead hazard control activities.

The HUD announcement caps the celebration of June’s National Healthy Homes Month. More information about HUD's Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Programs can be found here.


City’s Office of Community Wealth Building to Receive $1.9 Million Grant


The Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) recently received news it will be awarded a grant of $1.9 million from the Virginia Department of Social Services. The purpose of the grant is to support the efforts of the City of Richmond to expand workforce development efforts and the capacity of the Center for Workforce Innovation.

“This grant recognizes the hard work and dedication of our city’s Office of Community Wealth Building,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “It will help further our efforts and advance our goals of bringing about change and building One Richmond."

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s FY 2018 budget established a new initiative intended to support efforts of localities engaged in community wealth building and related approaches to moving citizens and families from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

“Receiving this grant from the Commonwealth is a major milestone. We are grateful for the acknowledgement of our work and excited about the tremendous impact this grant will make on our efforts to help individuals and families reach a new level of financial well-being and economic stability,” said Reggie Gordon, Director of the OCWB.

Many partners helped the OCWB prepare for the grant and supported the community wealth building initiatives, including Mayor Levar Stoney, CAO Selena Cuffee-Glenn, members of the Richmond City Council and Citizens Advisory Board, Virginia First Cities, intragovernmental partners, community partners, and most importantly, the people who have attended OCWB’s listening sessions and/or shared stories about their life struggles. Those stories formulated the strategy and approach used to make the grant application successful. OCWB is committed to being responsive to the needs of the people and helping to create pathways towards hope for thousands of Richmond households.

For more information about the Office of Community Wealth Building, contact Reggie Gordon at Reginald.Gordon@Richmondgov.com or call 646-6374.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

City Nets $16 Million Savings in Bond Market


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced Richmond has taken advantage of historic low interest rates and the city’s strong credit ratings to refund $142 million in existing debt service tied to four outstanding bond issues, which will result in the city reducing its existing debt service by approximately $16 million over the next 15 years.



This incredible savings was achieved as part of the successful sale of $229 million in tax-exempt and taxable General Obligation Public Improvement and Refunding Bonds, of which $87 million was for new money projects with a cost of approximately 2.77%, near the lowest cost of funds in several decades.



The bonds were highly rated by all three national credit rating agencies - Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch (Aa2, AA+, AA+ respectively). Wells Fargo was the winning bidder for the tax-exempt bonds and Raymond James was the winning bidder for the taxable bonds.



“This is how we do more,” said Mayor Stoney. “It is part of a concerted and multifaceted strategy to find and free up more dollars for our critical needs, such as our school and public safety priorities.”

Davenport & Company LLC, the city’s financial advisors, cited the recent and highly-rated credit assessments affirmed by all three national credit rating agencies for these excellent results. “This underscores Wall Street’s confidence in the city and its financial future,” added Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn.