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Mayor Stoney won’t veto newly approved city budget: ‘Time to move forward’

RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Friday that he will not veto the new $690 million budget approved by City Council this week.

“Going forward, our city is not served by this level of discord and distrust,” said Stoney. “It’s time for all of us to step up, and commit to working with each other, not against each other.”

Along with the approved budget, City Council also approved an amendment for oversight on day-to-day spending that would require the Stoney administration to seek their approval to move funds within departments of city government.

Stoney expressed disappointment in council’s decision to approve the budget with the amendment adoption. He went on to say that the oversight amendment will make it harder to deliver the services to the public.

“My concern has centered around the belief that adding this potentially weeks-long layer of bureaucracy, with the potential for 50 to 100 plus ordinances during the course of a year, would make City Hall operate even less efficiently than it does already, and leave us less responsive to the real-time needs of our residents,” he said Friday.

He also expressed concerns about the “lack of transparency” in how the amendment was introduced without consultation with his administration.

Despite those concerns, Stoney said he respects Council’s worry over transparency and accountability of finances at City Hall.

“I appreciate Council’s concern and it is also a concern of mine. In fact, it is one of the reasons I ran for office.”

Stoney said it’s time to move forward and that’s why he decided not to veto Council’s amendment.

“The Citizens of Richmond do not want to see us fight – that is the old way. They want us to govern,” he said. “They want Council to legislate and they want me to lead. They want the City to work.”

Stoney said he hopes to work with City Council in the coming weeks to modify the “imperfect” legislation.

The approved budget is for the 2017-18 fiscal year that begins in July.