Richmond considering deep cuts due to economic impacts of COVID-19

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Richmond council considers suspending rents, mortgages
Richmond City Hall

Tonight, the Richmond City Council is set to review and provide direction to city staff on how to respond to the city’s grim financial future.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have shrunken tax revenue to the point that the city is considering laying off staff, partially or fully closing libraries, pools and fire stations, eliminating unfilled police positions and slashing recreation programs, among other possible cuts. In his e-forum newsletter, Mayor Tom Butt shared a spreadsheet of 46 budget reduction considerations that can be viewed here.

A $7 million deficit is projected in the last quarter of this fiscal year, and a $27 million deficit (roughly 15 percent of the city’s budget), is projected for Fiscal Year 2020-21 if no changes occur. The mayor cautioned about relying on reserves or state or federal bailouts to solve the dire budget problem.

The mayor formed and is part of an ad hoc budget committee consisting of Councilmembers Ben Choi and Melvin Willis that is working with city staff on the issue.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will livestreamed online. To watch, click here.