City Council Meeting Recap - October 13, 2014
In its first meeting since the September 14 resignation of Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall, Richmond City Council voted against the wishes of Mayor Dwight Jones by keeping the property tax rate unchanged. Council also voted to allow extended hours for a favorite music venue, and to retake several properties from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Real Estate Tax - Ord. No. 2014-180
Council adopted this ordinance maintaining the city's tax rate at $1.20 per $100 assessed value. Ords. No. 2014-178 and 2014-179 would have lowered the city's real estate tax $0.01 to $1.19 per $100 assessed value. The mayor had favored the reduction to benefit homeowners, but acknowledged before the meeting that his plan was unlikely to be adopted.
"While it was my desire to see us, as a government, offer the first reduction in the city’s real estate tax rate since 2007," Jones said in a statement released Monday, "it seems the will of the many is headed in a different direction and it is unlikely that City Council will approve the reduced rate." Though the rate remains unchanged, the assessed value of city real estate rose 2.2 percent, meaning the tax will bring in an additional $4.5 million, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The mayor said he plans to introduce an ordinance to direct some of that additional money to Richmond Public Schools.
Later Hours for The Camel - Ord. No. 2014-94
Council gave final approval to this amendment to the special use permit for 1619 and 1621 West Broad Street, the location of The Camel. This amended permit allows the popular music venue to stay open until 2 a.m. seven days a week during a one-year trial period.
Council adopted these ordinances to shift ownership of the 730 Theatre Row office building, the Main Library and the Richmond Coliseum from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority to the City. Ownership of the buildings was transferred to the RRHA more than two decades ago to allow it to issue bonds to raise money for construction projects. The City is retaking the buildings now that the debt is fully paid off.
Transportation Project Funding
Council adopted these resolutions to express its support for applying to the Virginia Department of Transportation for more than $2 million in funding from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program to go toward seven projects. They include: improving pedestrian access along Belvidere Street, creating a bike lane on Bank Street and Franklin Street and to widen the sidewalk on one side of Bank Street, connecting Cannon Creek Trail to the Virginia Capital Trail, installing a sidewalk along Carnation Street, building a pedestrian bridge over the I-95 off-ramps onto East Broad Street, installing a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon system in Shockoe Bottom and creating a pedestrian trail to connect Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School to Minefee Street.
Several notable items were continued to later Council meetings:
Shockoe Bottom and the Stadium
All continued to October 27 meeting. The fight over where and how to build a new baseball stadium in Richmond is far from over, and the continuance of these four resolutions reflects the lack of consensus among city leaders on the issue. See our meeting preview post (insert link here) for a breakdown of these resolutions.