Richmond City Council balances budget without real estate tax hike
By Keya Vakil
April 30, 2019

After a week of chaos that saw the Richmond City Council threaten to take legal action against Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration, the two sides finally came to an agreement, balancing the city’s $757 million budget without cutting education funding or raising taxes.

Last week’s tense negotiations ended with an $11 million hole remaining in the budget. But on Monday, Stoney agreed to certify up to $9.5 million in revenue that wasn’t included in his original proposal. The council used that money, as well as cuts to proposed capital spending and funding for vacant positions to balance the budget without raising the city’s real estate tax, as Stoney has proposed.

The education funding was a priority for Stoney, and holding the real estate tax at its current rate was a priority for the council. A compromise appeared unlikely last week, after the Stoney administration’s Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn told council members that Stoney would not certify the $9.5 million in new revenues like they expected.

This sparked outrage from the council and led them to discuss taking potential legal action against Stoney’s administration.

Stoney eased tensions on Friday by agreeing to certify $6.5 million in new revenue from rising real estate tax assessments, while another $3 million will be generated by the council’s decision to suspend a separate real estate-tax related policy. Stoney intends to certify that money as well.

A final vote on the budget will take place on May 13, and additional details can be found at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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