Mayor Levar Stoney introduced his budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 — that’s July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024 — to City Council on Monday, March 6. In his speech, Stoney pointed to several areas the budget would address, including funding for affordable housing, education, city services, and city employees.
Here are some key numbers.
💸 ~$221.5 million for Richmond Public Schools | Context: That’s less than what RPS asked for, but still a 10.5% increase from last year.
💸 $50 million for affordable housing projects over the next five years
💸 $7 million for park improvement projects
Also included in the budget were raises for city employees, funds to help keep GRTC fare free, and money to revive the city’s History and Culture Commission.
After collecting comments and considering changes, City Council should vote to approve the budget in May.
We’re digging deeper on each of the areas Mayor Stoney highlighted.
The mayor’s proposal to contribute $10 million to affordable housing projects over the next five years is detailed in the FY 2024 Proposed Capital Improvements Plan — basically a longer-term budget document for projects that are multiple years in the making.
For fiscal year 2024, the following line items are proposed:
- $1.4 million to establish a first-time homebuyer fund for city employees who want to live within city limits | Context: Money for this project comes from federal ARPA funds.
- $500,000 to expand the Alternative Housing Program | Context: The city plans on partnering with a nonprofit to make it easier for Richmonders to access new kinds of housing, such as manufactured homes.
- $800,000 for the Eviction Diversion Program
The budget also includes funds for homeless services. The mayor wants to hire another homeless services liaison and allocate $1.75 million towards a year-round emergency services shelter.
A big point of emphasis in Mayor Stoney’s original proposal was his $21,152,485 increase in funds for Richmond Public Schools. Stoney also highlighted that there has been an 46.1% increase in RPS funding since he became mayor in 2016.
Connected to education, the proposal includes:
- $800,000 in new funding for the Richmond Public Library | Context: The money will go towards adding Sunday hours at the Main, Ginter Park, Broad Rock, and West End branches
- $474,000 in increased funding for Communities in Schools
- $1.36 million in increased funding for NextUp RVA
Meanwhile, the mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan — which covers FY 2024-2028 — proposes $2.5 million per year for school maintenance, $200 million in FY 2024 for school modernization, and $15 million specifically to help rebuild Fox Elementary.
This umbrella term covers facilities, transportation, utilities, public programming — the list goes on. Here are a few key numbers:
- $8.9 million more in the city’s contribution to GRTC
- $14.1 million to address maintenance needs at city facilities | The mayor highlighted priority projects at City Hall, Main Library, fire stations, cemeteries, and the James River Park System, among others.
- $21 million for the Complete Streets program | Context: Complete Streets is a continuous capital project that includes funds for sidewalks, curbs and gutters, pedestrian crossings, and paving.
There’s also $7 million in the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for park improvements around the city, particularly in Southside.
The budget proposal includes funds to increase the salaries of city employees and provide more benefits. In his introduction, the mayor cited that the city dedicated $33.6 million in FY23 to increasing wages for all city employees.
Context: Since City Council approved a collective bargaining ordinance for city employees in July 2022, all five designated units of workers — police, fire and emergency services, labor and trades, professional, and administrative and technical — have filed for union elections.
The FY24 plan includes an 8% salary increase for all non-sworn employees as well as an $18 minimum wage. Here are some more figures:
- $1.4 million towards a First Time Homebuyer’s Assistance program for city employees who want to live within city limits
- $650,000 to establish a Tuition Assistance Program
- $500,000 to continue the language incentive program for employees who provide multilingual services
Still have budget questions? Let us know and we’ll try to get them answered.
City Council will host budget work sessions throughout April. In May, City Council will introduce amendments and adopt the budget before FY24 begins in July.