After some last-minute wheeling-and-dealing, the Richmond City Council approved Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ “economic development package” that will construct a new training camp facility for the Washington Redskins and allow two substantial hospital expansions, all to the tune of $9 million . In addition, the package will also include financial help for Richmond schools.
In typical Richmond City Council fashion, a list of “enhancements” were compiled into the approved resolution on Monday and passed the same night in an accelerated procedure. Obviously the council was anxious to finish this piece of legislative business in a hurry.
Among other pieces of legislation that helped the Redskins deal get approved, the package includes $6.3 million worth of commitments to Richmond school facilities over the next decade.
Jones commented, “We worked feverishly to get it done. It was a complicated deal where each piece of the puzzle was very important.” Is it cynical to suspect that Jones wanted something big politically to put his name on?
Thus, under some of the favorable negotiated portions of the package for Richmond school facilities, the council voted unanimously to approve it. As part of the package, the Bon Secours Richmond Health System will make an annual payment of $33,000 for the Westhampton property and set aside $100,000 a year for Richmond school projects over the next decade.
The package also commits Richmond to maintain current levels of capital-budget funding for schools in addition to allocating tax revenue and lease payments from the Redskins deal to the Richmond school system.
It’s difficult to argue with the merits of this package, unless of course you’re a Richmond city resident living near the new Redskins training facility. The traffic will be even worse when the camp is open to the Redskins!
That said, Richmond city schools in particular can use all of the additional funding it can get.
This time around, there isn’t much to criticize the council or the mayor about. Three cheers for the city of Richmond, a rare political home run was just hit!