Tuesday, December 12, 2017

City to Implement New Electronic Content Management System Software

The city’s Finance Information Services Team today announced the implementation of a new Electronic Content Management Software, Onbase by Hyland. This new software will be integrated with existing City of Richmond software tools to create an intelligent business workflow management platform. Over the next several months the system will be implemented with both the Accounts Payables and Revenue Administration groups. The implementation of this technology will allow for expedited invoice processing to vendors as well as interactive tools for our constituents to track tax information and payments. 

“This project represents a commitment by the City of Richmond to meet the goals set forth by Mayor Stoney’s Richmond 300 plan by working to open all lines of communication and data transfer between all city departments and the people of the city,”  said Mimi Terry, Deputy Director/Controller and Acting Director of Procurement.

For questions and more information, contact CORECMS@Richmondgov.com

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bond Refunding Saves City of Richmond Approximately $13 Million

On Monday, December 4, 2017, the City of Richmond successfully sold its $119 million tax-exempt General Obligation Public Improvement Refunding Bonds in order to refund existing debt service and achieve interest rate savings.

The cost of funds for the city’s 2017D Refunding Bonds was approximately 2.4%, which is near the lowest cost of funds in several decades. The city took advantage of the historic low interest rate environment to refund two outstanding bond issues, which will result in the city reducing its existing debt service by roughly $13 million over the next 15 years.

Moody’s and Fitch reaffirmed their strong ratings on the city’s 2017D Bonds at Aa2 and AA+, respectively. S&P is expected to reaffirm its AA+ rating of the city’s 2017D Bonds later this week.

“These savings have the potential to accelerate funding for our priorities, such as school-related capital projects,” said Mayor Stoney. “The credit ratings additionally underscore Wall Street’s confidence in Richmond and our financial future.”

Progress made this year in the city’s Finance Department allowed Richmond to move quickly and act on the refunding opportunity. “The city’s timing for issuing these bonds could not have been better,” said Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn.

David Rose, representing the city’s financial advisor Davenport & Company LLC, credited the Stoney administration’s commitment to strong fiscal management and best practices. “We believe the city could not have taken advantage of this refunding without the completion of the FY2017 CAFR ahead of schedule and a significant general fund surplus.”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

City to Implement Steps to Improve Customer Interaction for City Permitting

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the city is implementing a series of steps to improve customer interaction with permitting in the City of Richmond. In a letter sent to stakeholders on November 28, the mayor addressed changes coming to the city’s permit center located in Room 110 at City Hall.

“After hearing from many relating to their experience applying for and receiving permits from Room 110, we are changing how these matters are handled here at City Hall,” said Mayor Stoney. “We are committed to making the process of getting a permit less time-consuming, and more customer-friendly and efficient, and will take full advantage of the technology we have available to make it easier to conduct business with the City of Richmond.”
The following steps will be implemented on December 1, 2017:

Better office hours

The Permit Center will now be open 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Monday - ­Friday), which previously operated from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. This will allow customers to come in earlier and get their business done, as well as provide city staff the needed time to have meetings and return calls. Staffing hours will not change.

Improvements to Room 110

Renovations have been approved to improve customer flow, providing better separation between those who are waiting, and those working with Permit Techs or with other city departments. At the request of Mayor Stoney, city staff have customer wait times down to an average of 30 minutes from almost an hour wait earlier in the year. The improvements made to Room 110 will help city staff to continue to provide better service.

E-mailed Permits

Permits can be sent to valid email addresses as soon as plans are approved, allowing applicants to spend less time in City Hall.

Validated Parking

The city will provide 1-hour or 2-hour validated parking for business conducted in Room 110 at the city's parking deck at 7thStreet and Marshall Street. This will help alleviate some of the challenges with parking near City Hall.

Additionally, the city is continuing to work on the EnerGov system to bring online submittal of plans and payment of fees. Additional staff has been hired to help improve plan review times and customer service. 

Mayor Stoney Begins Series of Teacher Recruitment Visits for Richmond Public Schools

Mayor Levar M. Stoney has begun a series of recruitment visits to Virginia’s colleges and universities as part of an effort to encourage students and prospective graduates to begin their careers by teaching in Richmond Public Schools.

On Tuesday, the mayor visited Virginia State University, where he spoke with more than 200 students on the benefits of a teaching career and living in Richmond. 

The Mayor’s outreach is a joint effort in collaboration with RPS to help close the teacher vacancy gap in RPS by tapping the talent of the state’s higher education system. 

“Good students are the product of good teachers, and we want the very best for our schools,” said Mayor Stoney. “Our students deserve nothing less, and our top-rated colleges and universities have the talent that can make a difference in the lives of our children and take our city to the next level.”

Over the next five months, the mayor will make recruiting visits to college campuses throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. His next scheduled visit will be this Friday, Dec. 1 to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. RPS will also hold an internal teacher job fair in February 2018 and will visit a series of colleges for teacher job fairs between January and April.

“Teacher recruitment remains a high priority for us, so it is encouraging to have this level of support from Mayor Stoney,” said School Board Chair Dawn Page. “Recruiting and retaining highly, qualified teachers is a major benefit to the school district as well as the progression of the city. Richmond is a great city to live, work, and play which makes it the ideal place to start or continue an impactful career in public education.”

The starting salary for a Richmond Public Schools teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience is $44,525, plus benefits. RPS annually hires approximately 360 teachers for a new school year.
For more information on RPS teaching opportunities, please visit: www.rvaschools.net/domain/822.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Update on Recommendations of the VCU Performance Review

Mayor Levar Stoney today released a detailed update on steps his Administration has taken to address the findings and recommendations of the VCU Performance Review, conducted in May 2017. 

The update is contained in the 25-page report found 
. The report provides a summary of the Administration’s efforts both to reform and improve the functioning of government and to build One Richmond. The report also contains summary recommendations developed by an interagency Cross Functional Team, consisting of employees from numerous different departments who examined issues concerning improving communications and processes within the organization. Finally, the report summarizes progress on key priorities of the Stoney Administration and identifies an action plan for the next three months leading into presentation of the FY 2019 and FY 2020 budget in March 2018. 

As part of that action plan, Mayor Stoney today announced his intention to create a Performance Management and Change unit based within the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. This unit will work with the CAO to implement organizational change and to monitor timely execution of policy priorities throughout City government. The unit will also provide analytical and technical assistance to all City agencies as needed.

Mayor Stoney has assigned Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Thad Williamson to work directly with Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn to incubate and launch the Performance Management and Change unit. 

“I am committed to building a culture of success and service in City Hall, and to making this an organization in which employees are proud to serve,” said Mayor Stoney. “That means doing the little things well, but it also means improving policies and reforming outdated practices. This report provides that road map.”

Since May the Mayor has personally visited agencies and listened to employees; and he has asked directors to respond to the performance review findings while continuing to implement the first a year transition plan. He convened a Cross Functional Team that has produced detailed plans on how to improve communication and processes.

“The next step now is institutionalizing change. Our new Performance Management and Change unit will help make sure that good ideas get translated into concrete action,” added Mayor Stoney. 

“The Performance Review and the follow-up steps that have taken place in the last few months have been a fruitful and productive exercise for the organization,” stated Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn. “I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Stoney to strengthen the organization and help build One Richmond.”

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

City of Richmond Designated “SolSmart Silver” for Advancing Solar Energy Growth

The City of Richmond received a silver designation from the national SolSmart program for taking bold steps to remove obstacles to solar development and encourage solar energy growth during the 2017 National League of Cities (NLC) City Summit which took place Nov. 15 - 18 in Charlotte, NC.

SolSmart is led by the Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. More than 100 cities, counties and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.

To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures, to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. SolSmart designees may also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.

“SolSmart designation is part of our RVAgreen 2050 initiative to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “As a SolSmart Silver designee, we’re helping our residents and businesses obtain affordable, reliable and clean electricity through solar. We’ve also signaled our community is open for solar companies to do business here, which drives economic development and creates local jobs.”

SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver or bronze. 

As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.

For more information contact Alicia.Zatcoff@richmondgov.com or call 646-3055.

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. 


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.