Mayor Jones did not include a “STEP” increase for public safety employees in his proposed budget. Public safety employees filled the room to express their dissatisfaction to city council. The council indicated that it intended to find the money for the increase.
Mayor Jones later called a news conference to “announce” that a budget amendment would include a STEP increase. Mayor Jones was criticized for making the announcement with no members of council present.
In the latest issue of his newsletter Mayor Jones again takes credit for the STEP increase.
Mayor Jones Newsletter
Building the Best Richmond May 2013
May 21, 2013 Vol.5 Issue 5
City Fire & Police STEP
Despite the need to close a $31 million budget gap in the upcoming city budget year, my administration has been committed to providing pay increases for City employees for the third time in my term as Richmond’s Mayor. I submitted the upcoming fiscal year 2014 budget to Council that included a 2% increase for all qualifying City employees. Earlier this month, I held a press event to detail the STEP salary increases for our City’s Fire Department and Police Department staff. I recently proposed an amendment within that budget to provide an additional increase for sworn police and fire department employees in recognition of the fact that their STEP increases had been frozen for five years. I wanted to include this additional salary increase for our City’s first responders, as I felt it prudent to acknowledge the day-to-day dangers police and firefighters face in protecting lives and property.
City Police Chief Ray Tarasovic, CAO Byron Marshall and City Fire Chief Robert Creecy join Mayor Jones in announcing STEP increases. All City employees, including sworn members of the Police and Fire departments, who were employed as of October 1, 2012, will receive a 2% pay raise that will appear on their first full paycheck in October 2013. All eligible Sworn Police Officers and Fire Fighters, approximately 1,100 employees will also receive a STEP increase, 2% of which will be received on the first full paycheck in October 2013 and the balance of which will be received on the first full paycheck in January 2014.
The increase in January will be an additional .5% for those police officers and fire fighters in STEPs 1-11, 8% for those in STEP 12; 9% for those in STEP 13; and 10% for those in STEP 14. The cost of the step increases for police officers and fire fighters, over and above the 2%, will be an additional $1.4 million in FY2014.
After hearing City Council concerns and discussing directly with the chiefs, we found a way to make this possible. I would like to thank all members of City Council for supporting this very important budget amendment. As they too recognize the importance of acknowledging the hard work and dedication of these very important city servants.
The City of Richmond is poised to give Health Diagnostics Laboratory a $1,350,000. Health Diagnostic Laboratory is a new and highly successful corporation located in the downtown Virginia BioTechnology Research Park. Construction for Phase 2 of its operations is underway. The grant is tied to Phases 3 and 4.
There is nothing in the ordinance request indicating that this grant was necessary. Read the rest of this entry »
Councilman Parker C. Agelasto, 5 th District, said the council needs to take a look at altering the budget process.
“It’s got to get revised,” said Agelasto, who is serving his first term. “We’ve got to review this process throughout the year.” Link
Council members say they’ve yet to receive anything in writing from the administration regarding the shortfall — a point of frustration, council members say, because the city charter requires the mayor to notify them of any budgetary issues “without delay.” Link
The cost to build the Redskins training camp has gone up by $1.1 million — a 10-percent increase in construction costs over the $10 million the city has committed to the project.
Fifth District City Councilman Parker Agelasto wonders why no one bothered to ask City Council about the expense. “Anytime you’re 10 percent over budget, the folks who authorized it should be informed,” Agelasto says. Link
The total school budget for next year, including federal, state and other funding, is $246.5 million, down from $249 million from the fiscal year that ended June 2012.
And despite a schools report that says the system has nearly $18.6 million in maintenance needs for its roughly 50 buildings in the coming year, it will only get $685,000 from the city to that end.
However, the city has included money in next year’s capital improvement program to begin plans to tear down and replace Overby-Sheppard Elementary as part of the redevelopment of the former Dove Court public housing community. The school is projected to cost about $21.5 million.
Overby-Sheppard, built in 1976, is not high on the list of priorities in the school system’s 10-year, $105 million maintenance plan, a fact that was not lost on the speakers who addressed the council. Link
Here’s a magic trick. Tear down an old school (in this case Overby-Sheppard Elementary School in Richmond), build a new one in its place using nearly all allocated capital ground funds for school improvements across the city, and argue that this will help everyone in the entire school system. Magic, right? Link
The city administration failed to answer questions about the proposed public utility charges and rates.
No response was received from City Council members except Mr. Agelasto. Read the rest of this entry »
…$21 million to rebuild a relatively new facility in better condition than the vast majority of Richmond’s public schools…
Now, City Council has gotten in on the act by funding a new school in Highland Park over the reservations of at least four School Board members. Link
The only change City Council offered in next year’s funding is an increase in the school system’s capital improvement allotment from about $500,000 to $685,000. That money is set aside for general maintenance of the city’s 50 or so school buildings.
A school system-produced list of capital improvement needs includes $6.1 million in work for 2013 and $104.7 million in the next 10 years. Link