Richmond city employees could lose their jobs due to budget problems

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Layoffs, furloughs and city services being stopped is a real possibility if council members don’t take action Tuesday.

City council members say they just learned some departments are over budget for this year. If money isn’t relocated by June 1, city employees could be out of work.

Richmond’s Director of Budget and Strategic Planning Jay Brown warned city council members in an email saying that city services will be halted for some departments and agencies.

“Some city personnel may need to be laid off,” Brown added.

“So council has our work cut out for us on Tuesday, and we just have to get this done,” said Richmond City Council Vice President Chris Hilbert.

Hilbert confirmed to 8News that several city departments like the sheriff’s office, the department of public works, and parks and recreation are over budget.

If council doesn’t approve an ordinance Tuesday that seeks to modify departmental budgets, there are even talks of furloughs for city employees.

Recycling services, trash pick-up, patrols at some city parks, aquatic staff and some seasonal pools could close until July 1.

“I would hope that they would err the side of keeping essentials services going, garbage picked up,” Hilbert said.

Council members told 8News it’s not uncommon to modify or reconcile budgets, but it’s late in the year to be notified about it. They also said they can’t understand why the administration never mentioned during budget talks that some departments were running low on cash for this year.

Some departments have a surplus and the council will have to look at that Tuesday.

“I don’t know all the backstory as to why that happened. That would have to be something the administration needs to explain,” Hilbert said. “We didn’t ask for this to be put on our doorstep but it’s here now.”

Some members told 8News they feel backed in a corner, feeling the pressure to act fast rather than taking the time to make purposeful decisions with taxpayer money.  

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