Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mayor Stoney, Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to Hold Community Conversation on Race and Equality


Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will discuss how local leaders can tackle critical social issues including racism and racial disparities, the history and symbolism of monuments and how to chart a path toward dismantling inequities. Julian Hayter, historian, author and associate professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, will serve as moderator.

The event will be held Tuesday, March 19, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, located at 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220. Doors will open at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Members of the public can rsvp to
info@unumfund.org.

“It’s imperative we have the tough conversations about the history of racism and systemic inequities that continue to harm our communities,” said Mayor Stoney. “Historically marginalized communities — primarily low-income neighborhoods and communities of color —continue to feel the burden of a Jim Crow-era system in every facet of society, including in education, housing, transportation, economic development and health. Each of us share in the responsibility to speak honestly and work boldly to undo historic wrongs and give our children, families and communities their due opportunity to thrive. I am excited to welcome former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to Richmond to engage in this critical dialogue with our community.”

Landrieu will be visiting Richmond with his E Pluribus Unum initiative, which is bringing people together across the American South around issues of race, equity and economic opportunity.

“As Virginia honors the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans, the country must reckon with its tumultuous past and the institutional racism that shapes us today,” said former Mayor Landrieu. “Growing up in the South and having dealt with the issues of equity, poverty and violence in New Orleans, I strongly believe the time has come for America to have a national conversation about race. I’m honored to be coming to Richmond and excited to speak with Mayor Stoney about how our two cities can learn from each other as we seek to improve our communities.”

Landrieu and his team are traveling across the South with the goal of listening to local leaders and residents in order to learn about their concerns, hopes and efforts around the movement to create more equitable communities. They are convening community members in nearly a dozen cities and towns, visiting each state across the south to listen and learn, exploring how these issues are playing out in these communities and how local organizations are working together to address them. Following this phase E Pluribus Unum will develop programs and initiatives seeking to bring people of different races and backgrounds together around their shared values.

For more information about this mayor-to-mayor initiative, please contact Osita Iroegbu at
Osita.Iroegbu@richmondgov.com or (804) 646-4336.



Monday, March 11, 2019

Mayor to Host Town Hall Meetings for Proposed FY2020 Budget



Mayor Levar M. Stoney will be hosting community town hall meetings over the coming weeks to discuss his proposed FY2020 budget. The mayor presented his fully balanced budget to Richmond City Council on Wednesday, March 6, which includes an investment of $18.5 million for Richmond Public Schools, $16.2 million for roads and sidewalks, $2.9 million for affordable housing, an additional $965,000 for increased GRTC service and $485,000 in funding for eviction diversion.
Below are the scheduled Town Hall meetings:

Tuesday, March 19
6:30 – 8 p.m.
East End
Woodville Elementary School
2000 N. 28th St.

Thursday, March 21
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Southside
Southside Community Center
6335 Old Warwick Rd.
Wednesday, March 27
6:30 – 8 p.m.
West End
Thomas Jefferson High School
4100 W. Grace St.

Tuesday, April 2
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Northside
Northside Family YMCA
4207 Old Brook Rd.
For more information, please contact Tameka Jefferson at Tameka.Jefferson@richmondgov.com or call (804) 646-6936.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mayor’s FY 2020 Budget Makes Historic Investments in Schools and Streets



Fully balanced proposal provides an increase of $18.5 million for Richmond Public Schools, $16.2 million for roads and sidewalks, $2.9 million for affordable housing, additional $965,000 for increased GRTC service and $485,000 in funding for eviction diversion

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today unveiled a FY 2020 budget making bold investments to meet Richmond’s long-neglected needs in public education and neighborhoods to build a more inclusive, more competitive and more equitable city.

“This budget marks a new beginning,” Mayor Stoney stated. “With this budget we have the opportunity to invest in our children, our families and our neighborhoods to build the Richmond our residents deserve.”

The fully balanced budget proposal presented to Richmond City Council provides an additional $18.5 million to fully fund the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) strategic plan, Dreams4RPS, which includes the local match for recently passed state salary increases for teachers. The city’s Capital Improvement Program budget also fully funds eligible RPS maintenance needs of $19 million.

“There is no investment more important, or worthwhile, than the investment we make in our children,” said Mayor Stoney, addressing the nine members of council in council chambers. “Their future is our future.”

The mayor’s budget also provides an historic investment of $16.2 million toward streets and sidewalks.

“From Church Hill to Westhampton, from Worthington Farms to Providence Park, these investments will allow us to support our neighborhoods in an equitable and sustainable way, not just this year, but every year,” the mayor said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this budget marks a new beginning,” Mayor Stoney continued. “With this budget, we have an opportunity to invest in our children, our families and our neighborhoods to build the city we all deserve.”

In addition to new investments in schools and streets, the mayor’s budget also includes funding for the following:

  • $2.9 million dedicated to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • An additional $965,000 to the Greater Richmond Transit Corporation for increased service and route frequency to those communities that need it the most
  • $485,000 for Richmond’s Eviction Diversion Program, the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Additional staffing for the Department of Citizen Service and Response and RVA311, to reduce wait times and provide a higher level of customer service to residents
  • Continuation of planned step pay increases for police and firefighters, a raise in starting salaries for police officers to $43,000 and a cost of living adjustment for general city employees of 3 percent – the first increase of its kind in 15 years

The Capital Improvement Program budget of $96.9 million for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1, makes a number of investments in city infrastructure, including:

  • $10 million to restore bridges and thoroughfares and for pedestrian traffic safety initiatives that reduce accidents and save lives through the Vision Zero program
  • Renovations to Powhatan and Southside Community Centers, and upgrades to Blackwell Playground and Chimborazo Park to enhance programming for youth and senior citizens 
  • Full funding for RPS maintenance needs

Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Considerations:

A projected $12 million increase in revenue growth for the coming fiscal year barely covers the approximate $10 million increase in non-discretionary city expenditures and leaves limited funding to tackle any of the major, longstanding challenges faced by the city to make improvements to schools or neighborhoods. These needs, and costs, have only grown larger following years of deferred maintenance and delayed investment at the local and state levels following the recession.

The recession was preceded, in 2006 and 2007, by tax cuts that took the city’s real estate tax rate per $100 of assessed value from $1.29 to $1.20, where it has remained for the last 11 years. As far back as 15 years ago, this tax was $1.38; and 30 years ago, it was $1.53.

To address these core priorities, Mayor Stoney is proposing a restoration of the real estate tax rate to its pre-recession level of $1.29 per $100 of assessed value – the same rate it was in 2006. He is also proposing the City of Richmond impose its first ever tax on cigarettes of 50 cents per pack. These common sense and fiscally-responsible proposals will yield additional revenues of $21.1 and $3 million, respectively.

The resulting major investments in roads and streets will move Richmond out of the recurring cycle of playing “whack-a-mole” with potholes and help restore the city’s infrastructure after years of neglect.

The resulting significant investments in public education will better enable RPS to fund its vision to provide students with the pathways to success they deserve. This needed education investment includes:

  • Funding to provide an equitable literacy plan to ensure all third graders read at their grade level
  • Restructured English and math curricula
  • An increase in the number of school counselors and nurses
  • Improved performance of the RPS bus system
  • Salary increases for teachers and support staff

Mayor Stoney made it clear he expects results from RPS – and a tangible return on the proposed investment by the city.  

“We will insist on accountability and commitment by the school board to produce an annual RPS scorecard tracking progress and performance, as well as a date certain to deliver their city school rezoning plan,” the mayor said. “No excuses.”

Mayor Stoney said the budget he is proposing is not “the easy thing to do. But it certainly is the right thing to do. It is designed to build on our successes while addressing years of deferred maintenance and delayed investment in our city.

In his speech, the mayor referenced the great American poet Langston Hughes, who wrote that a dream deferred is a dream denied.
“Whether it’s the dream of strong and thriving neighborhoods – or the Dreams 4 RPS strategic plan – we cannot allow these dreams to be deferred OR denied any longer.”

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NOTE: Following the budget presentation, Richmond City Council will commence its review process, which will include a series of public hearings and presentations by city department heads. Council is required to pass a balanced budget by the end of May. For more information and a schedule of council hearings, please visit the Richmond City Council webpage.

The City of Richmond FY 2020 budget can be found here.
Read Mayor Stoney’s budget remarks here.

Follow the City of Richmond on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on Richmond Public Schools Budget Adoption


The school board faced a number of tough decisions in crafting this budget, and I appreciate it choosing to pass a plan that prioritizes students and teachers. I am committed to identifying the resources needed to provide our students with the learning opportunities they deserve. Fully funding Richmond Public Schools would be easier if the Commonwealth of Virginia would step up and fulfill its constitutional obligation to adequately support K-12 education. Virginia’s current approach to funding public education is not only inadequate and inequitable, it is unjust and immoral. The Commonwealth needs to do more for Virginia’s children, especially those growing up in poverty. The RPS adopted budget demands a lot from the City of Richmond. We have our own tough decisions ahead, but our kids deserve nothing less than our bold leadership.




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mayor Stoney Appointed Chair of Key US Conference of Mayors Committee



Mayor Levar M. Stoney is being tapped by the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) to develop a “proactive, strategic agenda” as the new chairman of the USCM’s Children, Health and Human Services Standing Committee.

“Mayor Stoney has demonstrated leadership, commitment and a collaborative approach to meeting the needs of children and families in the City of Richmond,” said USCM president Steve Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. “We’re grateful for his willingness to chair this important committee, and are excited for him to share Richmond’s recipe for success with USCM cities and localities across the country.”

Over the last two years, the Stoney administration has brought national attention to Richmond with numerous successful initiatives to benefit children and families.

Working with private, community and nonprofit partners, the administration implemented a critically important expansion of after-school programs for city school children and formed a partnership to provide tablets and internet access to incoming public high school freshmen. The administration also created a free ride program on the city bus system for students, and launched the successful “Change for RVA Schools” initiative, which generated $150 million to finance the construction of three new schools.
 
Focusing on the welfare of residents and working families, the Stoney administration is well on its way toward meeting the promise of building 1,500 affordable housing units by 2023, and just weeks ago announced the first eviction diversion program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, designed to help vulnerable residents avoid the devastating impact of losing their home.

This year, the administration also achieved the highest Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score in Virginia, a program sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign that measures the support for LGBTQIA+ communities within American localities. 

Richmond’s nationally recognized Office of Community Wealth Building has expanded its Center for Workforce Innovation to improve the city’s workforce development programs. And in 2017, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Richmond its Culture of Health Prize, in recognition of the city’s initiatives to build a culture of health throughout the city.

“I thank Mayor Benjamin for this opportunity,” said Mayor Stoney. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Richmond, and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow mayors to advance our successful initiatives nationwide.”

More information about the US Conference of Mayors can be found
here.


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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Education Compact Quarterly Meeting - February 6


Last night, Mayor Stoney convened the first Education Compact Quarterly Meeting of 2019.
Please click to find relevant material: Education Compact Presentation, Multi-Year School Capital Funding Plan and the Dreams4RPS: 5-Year Cost Estimate of Strategic Plan

All members of City Council and School Board are expected to attend these quarterly meetings.

In addition to Mayor Stoney and Superintendent Kamras, the following were in attendance:

City Council 


    •    Chris Hilbert (3rd District)
    •    Kristen Larsen (4th District)
    •    Ellen Robertson (6th District)
    •    Cynthia Newbille (7th District)


School Board
    •    Liz Doerr (1st District)
    •    Scott Barlow (2nd District)
    •    Jonathan Young (4th District)
    •    Cheryl Burke (7th District)
    •    Dawn Page (8th District)
    •    Linda Owen (9th District)


The following were absent:

City Council


    •    Andreas Addison (1st District)
    •    Kim Gray (2nd District)
    •    Parker Agelasto (5th District)
    •    Reva Trammell (8th District)
    •    Mike Jones (9th District)
School Board


    •    Kenya Gibson (3rd District)
    •    Patrick Sapini (5th District)
    •    Felicia Cosby (6th District)

Please visit the Education Compact website for videos, future meetings and more information.



Monday, February 4, 2019

Joint Statement from Richmond Leaders on Virginia General Assembly Education Funding Proposals


Mayor Levar M. Stoney, Richmond City Council President Cynthia Newbille, Richmond Public Schools Board Chairwoman Dawn Page and Superintendent of Schools Jason Kamras released the following statement:

The budgets proposed by the Virginia house and the senate fall far short of what Virginia’s students and teachers need and deserve, cutting millions of dollars from the investments proposed to them in December. The governor’s proposed budget should have been a floor – and not a ceiling – for K-12 funding, and the Virginia General Assembly has let us down again. Although we appreciate the commitment shown to addressing teacher salaries, these budgets ignore the stark reality that state funding for K-12 education is still down 9% since the 2009 recession. Every year that goes by without meaningful new investment is another year that we are leaving a class of students behind.

In Richmond, our state funding needs are even more acute with our state distribution down 19% since the 2009 recession. This inequity must be addressed to give our city the tools it needs to fully fund and improve our schools. Yet the legislature is ignoring the critical At-Risk Add-On program and has cut its proposed increases that would help direct funding to our Commonwealth’s students who need it the most.

Fortunately, there is still time for the legislature to sufficiently increase funding for the At-Risk Add-On, support staff positions like school counselors, school construction and other key initiatives to help fund the true cost of education. We urge members of the General Assembly to make K-12 education a top priority and send a clear message that our Commonwealth is committed to giving every Virginia student the educational resources they need to succeed academically in a safe and healthy environment.