City Council says it needs to know how much surplus money the city has in this year's budget. Mayor Jones must provide a certification letter with that information, but council members never received it.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
A Richmond City Council budget meeting set for Monday afternoon was brought to an abrupt halt and council members are blaming Mayor Dwight Jones.
Council says it needs to know how much surplus money the city has in this year's budget that can be used for things next year. Mayor Jones must provide a certification letter with that information, but council members never received it.
"It's real disappointing that it's not here tonight," said City Council President Charles Samuels. "You cannot amend the budget until that number is known to City Council."
Last Thursday, City Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall told City Council there was a multi-million dollar surplus. He didn't have an exact amount then but said he'd get one.
"They said they would have it by Friday and then they said Monday," said Samuels.
Council members made plans for that money. A vote was scheduled for Monday, but the important information from the mayor never showed up.
"Even though they apparently know the number, they have not decided to send it to us," said Samuels.
When asked why he thinks that is, Samuels says he doesn't know.
"I would hate to venture guesses and I certainly don't want to lay blame on certain situations from Thursday night that may have caused the other side to be frustrated."
Samuels is referring to the Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium plan. Thursday night, Council voted to remove $12.6 million Jones had budgeted for infrastructure improvements in Shockoe. Now, some council members say he's punishing them for it.
Mayor Jones says that's not the case.
"Looking for extra money from the surplus is not an excuse not to work on the budget," said Jones. "They have an entire budget that they can be working on and that's what I think they should be doing."
Council members say they'd done what they can and want the information by their next meeting on Wednesday. Now it's up to the mayor.
When asked if he'll have that information to them by Wednesday, Jones responded, "I really can't say."
Council members say if they don't have that information by Wednesday, they may launch their own investigation into figuring how much surplus money there is.