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Upset residents demand Petersburg mayor’s ouster

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PETERSBURG, Va -- Residents packed a city council meeting to demand the ouster of Petersburg Mayor Howard Myers Tuesday night.

The meeting took place at Union Station. For three hours, people took the podium and made the case that Mayor Myers should be stripped of his position.

Petersburg resident

"We simply want our city back. We want competent management, and above all, we want to save the city from this kind of devastation ever again," said one person who went up to speak.

Mayor Myers, for his part, was not at the meeting.

Howard Myers

Despite the popular opinion, the public does not have the authority to actually remove the mayor. The authority to do that lies with the City Council.

The outrage comes amid several crises facing the city, which have led to the departure of two city officials.

Petersburg has been plagued with water billing issues, which were uncovered in a CBS 6 Problem Solvers investigation. Some people reported not receiving water bills from the city since 2015. Other people received bills that were hundreds of dollars higher than usual, despite no change in their water usage. At the time, the city said the bills were based on estimated usage.

waterbill

In addition, Petersburg is dealing with a major budget shortfall. In 2015, the city was $3 million in the red. Petersburg was delayed in paying outstanding debts to the Virginia Retirement System and South Central Waste Water earlier this year, as it granted more time to residents to pay water bills. Virginia State Police and the Auditor of Public Accounts are auditing Petersburg's books.

In March, city officials said they hoped water bills based on true water usage may be distributed in June.

The city's handling of the water bills and financial crises led to the City Council dismissing City Manager William Johnson in March. City Attorney Brian Telfair resigned that month.

City Manager William Johnson III (left) City Attorney Brian Telfair (right)

City Manager William Johnson III (left) City Attorney Brian Telfair (right)

The City Council is set to vote on whether to remove Mayor Myers from his position on Monday.

Stay with WTVR.com and CBS 6 for reaction from Mayor Howard Myers.