The Richmond City Council unanimously passed a balanced budget last week that will include painful cuts to staff and services in order to close an approximately $13 million deficit for FY2016-17.
Among the many cost-cutting moves approved at the June 28 meet were staff reductions in the City Attorney and Finance departments, reductions in part-time temporary staffing and overtime within the Richmond Police Department, and substantial reductions to part-time staffing at the Richmond Public Library and Community Services division.
The three members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance on council — Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez — approved the budget reluctantly, saying they opposed austerity measures that didn’t include greater cuts to the salary and benefits of city managers and supervisors.
Mayor Tom Butt hailed the passing of the budget as a significant victory for the city. Richmond has faced financial danger after being downgraded by two credit rating agencies, and a financial advisor to the city warned of annual deficits if the city failed to cut expenses, raise revenue and ultimately balance its budget.