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City Council Increases Security

According to Style Weekly, seven months after a chaotic City Council meeting from which police carried an armed resident out of City Hall, private security guards and two police agencies are providing security during meetings in council chambers. Read more at Style Weekly

School Board member criticizes administration over handling of Binford

According to Times-Dispatch, an afternoon of orderly public discourse on the future of Binford Middle School took a turn for the surreal as the meeting was wrapping up, with Richmond School Board member Mamie Taylor encouraging everyone in attendance to not believe anything they’d just heard from central office administrators. “Don’t trust our administration,” said Taylor, who represents the 5th District. Parents should trust the Binford principal, says Taylor, not superintendent Bedden. Taylor's comments come in response to the school boards plan to close Binford Middle School. The school board cites higher costs, low performance, and under-enrollment as the reasoning behind this closure, w

EDA, contractor say early dirt work at Stone site would have saved $300K

The early work permits filed by the contractor for the Stone Brewing site could have saved taxpayers $300,000, but the opportunity fell through because of unfortunate timing and a lack of authority to do the work, according to the Richmond Economic Development Authority (EDA) and its chosen construction firm. Read more at Times-Dispatch

Richmond Superintendent Bedden disbands multicultrual task force

Richmond Schools Superintendent Dana T. Bedden disbanded the school system's multicultural task force Tuesday, saying its recommendations had been received and the emphasis was shifting to implementing them. Efforts include creating a welcome center for families with special needs and hiring more interpreters to help minimize the language barrier. Read more here.

City Council asks State for Additional Education Funding

Richmond is attempting to lobby to State Government to change the way that Virginia State doles out money for both transportation and funding. The Government currently gives out money for education based on the wealth of the city or county instead of the school district. This inadequately captures the needs of students in Richmond because the poverty level is higher within the public schools than in the city as a whole. Richmond has pressed for this in the pass but to no avail. To read more here

City Council delays vote on former Nolde Garage in Church Hill sale

Updates from Richmond.com on the proposed sale of Nolde Garage, 313 N. 24th St. in Church Hill: The long-pending sale of the city-owned Church Hill property, which Bilder wants to turn into apartments, commercial space and a civic area, was recently thrown into disarray after the owner of Anderson’s Neck Oyster Company revealed that he had also tried to buy the property and raised his offer price to beat Bilder. According to Richmond.com and Times-Dispatch, City Council delayed voting Monday night on the proposed sale of the property to Bilder. Read more at Richmond.com

Richmond officials ask state delegation to help fund schools, bike lanes

The City of Richmond wants its state lawmakers to press for changes in the way Virginia doles out funding for schools and roads to better reflect the needs of urban localities, reports Times-Dispatch. City representatives feel the formula for allocating funding to schools does not account for concentrated poverty, since the current formula puts most of Richmond's surrounding counties in better positions to recieve state funding for schools. Likewise, city representatives would prefer road funding allocation to correllate to total paved surface, rather than the current variable of moving lane miles. This way, the city could focus promote bike lanes and more complete roads, instead of more car

School Board proposes four new options for use of Binford Middle

The School board is considering multiple possibilities for the future of Binford Middle School in the Fan. As the most under-enrolled school in Richmond, Binford only enrolls 80 students within its zone, costing the city $8-10 million dollars more than usual, local ABC affiliate WRIC reports. Last night, the board presented four possible options for the future of the school: Move an open high school into the building and close Binford. Offer a fine arts integrated curriculum for students from all over the district. Change the entire school to an International Baccalaureate school. Offer a college bound spring board program, something not currently offered in Richmond. Read more at WRIC

Richmond Economic Development Authority looks for self-funding

The Richmond Economic Development Authority (EDA) is seeking to create a self-funding mechanism in the Stone Brewary Deal. The deal was passed by the city council on Monday but the details dealing with the specifics of the deal were known neither to the public nor to the city council. More information about the deal should be released in upcoming weeks. The EDA is seeking additional funds to deal with current and projected budget shortfalls. Find out more here

Economic Development in Richmond

Economic development through incentives like grants and loans is important to realizing a better Richmond, but the current paradigm of municipal development has much room for improvement. A non-partisan, state-level organization for evaluating economic development and an adjustment in the language of elected officials about economic development would benefit every city in Virginia. Read more of this analysis at RVANews

Richmond School Board discusses rezoning

Richmond’s outdated, occasionally perplexing middle and high school attendance zones could change by next school year. The city’s School Board is about to open the rezoning process, getting back to a task it began shortly after taking office in January 2013. The board completed elementary school rezoning that August but put off the secondary part while it searched for a new superintendent. Read more at Times-Dispatch

Hardywood contests back taxes

The city might hand over Hardywood brewery's unpaid meals taxes to a collections firm, reports Style Weekly. Just recently, the city granted CenterStage $1.75 million to pay unexpected real estate taxes, but officials have proven much more strict in collecting similar back taxes from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. Like CenterStage, Hardywood did not expect to owe taxes, since City Council only began requiring a meals tax on beer in September, at which point Hardywood complied to pay those taxes. Nevertheless, the city expects Hardywood to pay meals taxes from before September. In an interview with Times-Dispatch, Hardywood's co-founder, Erin McKay, said, "We aren’t trying to ask for forgivene

City adopts Complete Streets Policy

City Council unanimously voted on a resolution that means the City is now obligated to consider bicyclists and pedestrians in future projects. Last month, City Council passed a resolution putting City officials on the hook to create and implement guidelines that’ll ensure future transportation improvement projects will be planned, designed, and constructed with pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit passengers in mind, in addition to motorists. Read more at RVA News. See also National Complete Streets Coalition; Partnership for Smarter Growth Richmond

City Council Meeting Recap – November 10, 2014

Veterans Day The meeting started with a moment of silence in memory of all those who have served for our country. RVAGOV.com City Council President Charles Samuels gave a quick shoutout to the University of Richmond students present at the meeting and our new RVAGov website. Navigators Basebell (i.e., Flying Squirrels) This ordinance was moved to the consent agenda, where the Council unanimously voted to authorize the CAO to execute a Stadium Use Agreement allowing Navigators Baseball to use the Diamond at its current location (3001 North Boulevard). Stone Brewery The Stone Brewery Operation Agreement was passed unanimously, after agreeing to amend and continue it to the December 8th City Co

City Council Meeting Preview - November 10

Budget Amendments A proposed budget amendment will be discussed about whether to allocate $135,000 from the Fire Department to the Police Department. The chiefs of both Departements do not support these measures. This has been continued the December 8th Meeting. Flying Squirrels City Council will vote on whether to execute a new contract with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. This is an amended contract that will grant the team the right to use The Diamond at the current location (3001 North Boulevard). Stone Brewery Cooperation City Council will vote on whether they will use public funds to help build a Brewery in Richmond. This has made lots of news in recent weeks and has the potential to br

City Council Meeting Recap - October 27, 2014

In its second meeting of October, Richmond City Council took the first steps to allow a new brewery to come to town, and moved to settle a tax debt for two Richmond theaters. Check out our recap below, and read the official meeting summary. More Beer More than half a dozen breweries (http://www.visitrichmondva.com/things-to-do/craftbeer/-breweries/) already call the City of Richmond home, but news that the California-based Stone Brewing Company plans to build a 200,000 square-foot facility here got city and state officials very excited earlier this month. Ord. No. 2014-218-200 This ordinance creates a "performance agreement" between the City and Stone Brewing Company - essentially a contract

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