Mayor Levar Stoney Proposes Increase in City Meals Tax Rate to Fund Special Reserve Fund for School Construction
A presentation by the City’s financial advisors, Davenport & Company, at the December 11 Education Compact meeting indicated the city has approximately $66 million in debt capacity through FY2023 for City and Schools projects. A new funding source for Schools facilities is needed in order to increase debt capacity while not negatively impacting core city services and operations.
This afternoon, Mayor Levar Stoney introduced an ordinance increasing the meals tax 1.5% with the intent of making additional funds available for the renovation and replacement of public school facilities in the city.
This increase would generate an initial $9.1 million in new funding per year, which would allow the city to expand the current debt capacity and provide $150 million dollars in new capital funding over the next five years, dedicated to Richmond Public Schools. The Mayor is proposing these funds be placed in a special reserve, only available to fund school facilities.
Richmond’s strong credit ratings, the current low interest rate environment, coupled with the city’s vibrant economic development and growing population make this an ideal time to focus on the core priority of replacing aging school infrastructure with modern, state-of-the-art learning environments.
“For the last year, I’ve said that when it comes to meeting the critical needs of school facilities, the only option that’s off the table is doing nothing,” said Mayor Stoney. “It’s time for us to invest boldly in our most important resources – our children. We owe it to the children of our City to act.”