By Bill Robinson
Richmond’s revenue for the first four months of the fiscal year was running more than $2.28 million ahead of expenses, City Manager Jimmy Howard told the city commission Tuesday night.
Expenses were more than $420,000 below budget on Oct. 31, while revenue was $630,000 more than budgeted. The budget that took effect July 1, projects a surplus of more than $1.89 million on June 30. If trends continue, however, the city should end the year in even better condition, Howard said.
The city’s financial performance had helped it retain an A1 rating by Moody’s Investors Service prior to its selling of more than $2.3 million in bonds at 2.43 percent interest on Dec. 11, the city manager said.
The sale did not increase the city’s bonded indebtedness of $8.2 million, Howard said. The bonds were issued to take advantage of lower interest rates.
An A rating is the third tier in Moody’s system, outranked by AA and AAA ratings, according to the firm’s website.The commission, meeting for its last regular session of the year, gave second-reading approval to new regulations to control storm water at construction sites and other illegal inflow into its storm drains.
It also took the first steps toward involuntary annexation of two properties on Boggs Lane, one owned by Ken Ruhl Properties LLC and the other owned by National Real Estate Inc. The city is already providing municipal services to both properties, one of which is a Ford dealership, the annexation ordinance notes.
The commission accepted the resignation of Sandra Powell from the human rights commission as well as the resignation of firefighter Jim Newby. Newby will become a member of the commission on Jan. 1 and cannot remain a city employee while holding office.
Beginning Jan. 1, all apartment buildings or complexes in Richmond with three or more units will be required to maintain a large trash bin, commonly known as a dumpster. Previously, the requirement applied only to new developments, Howard said.
Small sites with not enough space for a dumpster may apply for an exemption from the city’s board of adjustments. The application fee is $300, but if the application is successful, the fee will be returned, the city manager said.
The city’s recycling service will not pick up material during the week of Dec. 24-28, Howard added.
Although one work session remains, Tuesday was the last regular meeting for two commissioners, Jason Morgan and Richard Thomas. Both failed to win election to second terms. They will be replaced by Newby and Laura Durham Morgan.
Jason Morgan said he wanted to leave office as he entered by thanking those who had voted for him in two elections. He said he hopes everyone has “renewed hope and faith in their city government” as he departs. Morgan also thanked city employees, who he said had been asked to “sacrifice a lot” in the past four years. Their commitment and good work, he said, had improved the city’s quality of life, including streets that are both safer and cleaner.
Thomas, who had earlier thanked the voters and his wife for their support as he had sought and then served in office, thanked the mayor and his fellow commissioners for “the fine two years that we had.”
They had disagreed but had never disrespected each other, Thomas said.
At an earlier meeting, Thomas said he believed the outgoing commission was leaving the city “in better shape than we found it.”
He got up, walked to each commission member, shook hands and then walked off the platform to where City Clerk Lisa Cassity was keeping minutes and gave her a hug.
Thomas then began to show emotion as he wished “all the best” to the mayor and returning commissioners as well as commissioner-elect Newby who was sitting in the audience.
Commissioner Donna Baird said there had been “no harder worker for the city than Richard Thomas.”
He had not missed a meeting, she noted. Both Thomas and Morgan would be missed on the commission, she said.
Mayor Jim Barnes and Commissioner Robert Blythe also extended thanks to Morgan and Thomas.
Public service is rewarding, even if it’s difficult, Barnes said. In addition to the satisfaction of serving the people, the mayor said, working on behalf of the people with dedicated public servants such as the four commissioners made his job enjoyable.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.