Mayor Stoney unveils city budget for Fiscal Year 2023
Richmond, VA — Mayor Levar M. Stoney this afternoon delivered a proposed $836 million General Fund budget for the City of Richmond for the coming 2023 fiscal year that does not raise taxes and expands key investments in education, housing, public safety, public services and public servants to improve the quality of life for all residents.
Addressing a virtual meeting of City Council, the mayor said that despite the changes and challenges presented by a second year of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the administration continues to pursue growth and opportunity.
He said the FY23 budget and accompanying $627 million, five-year Capital Improvement Program submitted today is built on the “strength, resilience and initiative” shown by the city workforce, city council, business owners and residents.
“(It) reflects the priorities of a city that believes in high quality public education for its children, the value of investing in the city employees who serve us, the importance of maintaining quality streets and services and the memorialization of our city’s full, true history,” the mayor said. “…From public education to public safety, to public servants and public services, this administration remains committed to “The Fix.’”
Highlights of the Mayor’s plan include:
Workforce Investments and Public Safety Pay Plan
The mayor announced $17.4 million for a first responder step pay plan. Under this plan, 95 percent of police officers and firefighters will receive at least a 10 percent pay increase, and 83 percent of them will receive increases of 15 percent or more. Starting pay for police officers will go from $44,000 a year to over $51,000 per year.
“Our first responder plan not only makes RPD and RFD salaries highly competitive in the region, but puts them among the highest in the commonwealth.…I am committed to our city staying competitive and keeping pace with first responder pay.”
Investments also include a 5% salary increase for all non-sworn city employees and a minimum threshold of $17 an hour for the lowest paid city workers.
“None of the fixes we are bringing as government leaders to meet the challenges of our day are possible without our dedicated public employees who make it happen,” said the mayor.
The budget includes an additional $15 million for Richmond Public Schools on top of last year’s allocation. This supplemental funding is enough to fully fund teacher’s salaries, cover RPS administrative needs and support efforts to improve learning outcomes. However, because the RPS Board has yet to present a fully-categorized budget to the city administration, it will be placed in a contingency reserve fund to be appropriated by ordinance through city council.
“The ongoing dysfunction of the majority of the (School Board) will not deter my commitment to putting our children first – or to being a fiscally responsible steward of your taxpayer dollars,” the mayor said. “These investments represent a $51 million increase – or 33 percent – in new funding for RPS since I took office.”
Safety Net Investments
In recognition of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the budget also expands investments in several key areas:
- Funding for the city’s Eviction Diversion Program increases by 50 percent to $727,000
- An additional $1.5 million is provided for Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities to continue and expand the city’s after-school programming.
- $500,000 to establish the first-ever Children’s Fund. This fund, to be managed by the Office of Children and Families, will enable the city to respond to the changing landscape of out-of-school time, including summer programs and youth employment.
- Increases the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority budget from $3.4 million to $3.7 million
Transportation and Infrastructure Investments
Continuing the administration’s commitment to improve its transportation and neighborhood infrastructure, the proposed plan includes:
- $17 million in transportation infrastructure funding through the five-year Capital Improvement Program, in addition to $35 million in federal state and regional funding in the CIP
- A $605,000 increase in city funding for the Greater Richmond Transit Corporation
“Our local investments, and regional investments through the Central Virginia Transit Authority, have put GRTC on solid financial footing,” the Mayor said. “As such, it is my strong expectation to see GRTC upgrade its network of bus amenities, such as shelters and benches, in the coming year. Mass transit is a lifeline between homes and jobs for many of our residents. They deserve to have a dignified, sheltered and safe place to wait for the bus.”
City Service Improvements
The proposed budget continues to enhance city services, highlighted by targeted investments that enhance access and enjoyment of city assets to support residents, and ensure better processing of planning documents and enhanced monitoring of compliance with state codes. Highlights include:
- Restoring Richmond Public Libraries to pre-pandemic funding ($436,000)
- Launching a Park Ranger Pilot Program ($250,000)
- Purchasing new software for the Department of Planning Development and Review to improve submission, processing and tracking of applications
- The addition of four new Property Maintenance and Code Enforcement positions that will expand our ability to monitor compliance so residents have safe places to live and work.
This year’s budget also takes important steps toward implementing financial best practices in how the city pays its fleet of city vehicles and how it strategically plans large capital projects.
The proposal transfers $10 million in the General Fund to the CIP in order to purchase allow the purchase of fleet vehicles with cash. This plan will improved the deferred capital replacement of key municipal vehicles like police, fire, and refuse vehicles.
The city will also establish a $10 million Capital Planning Fund to undertake preliminary architectural, engineering and design work for future major capital projects, such as a new courthouse, public safety complex and a new City Hall.
Telling Richmond’s full history
The city CIP includes $28 million for development of the Shockoe Heritage Campus.
This fiscal year, the city expects to engage the community, design the campus and put the first phase of work out to bid.
The General Fund budget also includes $400,000 to support the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia to assist in its commencement of the monument projects.
“As you know, the museum now has the substantial task of deciding what should be done with the Confederate monuments it has received from the city,” said Mayor Stoney. “We owe not only a debt of gratitude, but also have a responsibility, to ensure it has the financial support to successfully commence this important project.”
Nearly all of non-departmental grantees in the FY23 budget will be level-funded for the next year -- and some will receive increases in funding. The most notable is the inclusion in the mayor’s budget of a $515,000 salary supplement to the city’s Public Defenders align with the salary supplement the city provides to Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorneys.
Revenues and Costs
This year’s budget is conservatively grounded in the uncertainty of pandemic economics. In reviewing city finances, the mayor said city tax revenue projections are improving and stabilizing thanks to an increase in assessed real estate values and rebounding of consumer driven revenues such as sales and meals taxes.
The city plan is also benefitted enhanced by the $155 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which is being used to provide $20 million in funding for affordable housing and $78 million to build four new community centers and fund improvements to public housing.
But city costs have also gone up, in part fueled by a 7.5 percent hike in the Consumer Price Index – the fastest pace of inflation in 40 years. Debt service, health insurance, retirement contributions, contracted services and salaries have also increased.
To close the gap, the administration is proposing modest fee increases, among them: hiking the hourly parking rate from $1.50 to $2 an hour and increasing the fee for municipal solid waste by $1, from $21.45 per month to $22.45 per month.
The costs to provide gas, water, sewer and storm water have also risen. The proposal calls for single-digit percentage increases in those utilities.
The city is obligated to produce a balanced budget every fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The mayor is obligated to submit a proposal by the first week in March, and the Council has until the end of May to pass a spending plan. Council will be hosting multiple public meetings in the coming weeks to discuss the mayor’s proposal.
“The City of Richmond is well positioned to continue its upward trajectory thanks to the conservative revenue projections, targeted investments and fiscally responsible management reflected in this balanced budget,” the mayor concluded. “I am confident in, and optimistic for, our city’s future.”
To view the FY23 budget document please visit: