5 Petersburg council members call special meeting as residents demand answers

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Residents in Petersburg are asking city leaders for answers as new details come to light about the city's finances and outstanding debt.

As the city finally begins billing residents for services after not doing so for months, some of the city's bills -- some dating back nearly a year -- have not been paid.

"It's real sad for the people of Petersburg to have to go through this trauma," one resident told WTVR CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil.

Petersburg City Hall

Petersburg City Hall

The Debt 

Petersburg is in debt to the tune of $7 million. And the city owes $2.5 million to the Virginia Retirement System.

WTVR CBS 6 first reported Tuesday the city also owes $1.5 million to two water authorities.

And on Wednesday, WTVR CBS 6 learned the city owes the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority more than $368,000.

However, city leaders said in a statement to WTVR CBS 6 they expect to receive as much $23 million into accounts receivable. And leaders expect as much as $10 million to be in the coffers as soon as March 1.

Residents Demand Answers 

"Citizens have the right to complain," said James Geter, who lives in Petersburg. "Questions need to be answered as to why things are in such a turmoil as they are."

After city leaders postponed a Tuesday evening city council meeting over so-called threats, citizens continued to demand answers saying they are concerned with city leaders' lack of transparency.

Ward 2 city council member Darrin Hill thinks canceling the meeting was a mistake.

"Our citizens, they are frustrated, but not to the point to where they would want to do bodily harm to any one of us," Hill said.

As a result, five of the seven members of city council have called to a special meeting Thursday night to discuss employee contracts.

Some residents think Thursday's meeting could be the beginning of a change at city hall.

"You come out on Thursday night and you see the changes that we're proposing. At least get the facts," Hill said. "At least from the five of us thus far."

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for continuing coverage of this important local story. 

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