Petersburg secures funding for payroll, defers projects to stay afloat

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Money problems are mounting in Petersburg as the year draws to a close, with city leaders racing against time to make sure their employees were paid and critical services are maintained through December.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, council unanimously voted to allow acting city manager Tom Tyrell to secure funding to pay city employees on Friday, November 18 and again on December 2. This comes after concerns were raised over whether there would be enough funding in the city’s bank account for payroll.

9345b621bd894088be0446e1fe3f8c07“It’s still very precarious,” said Petersburg taxpayer Barb Rudolph, describing the state of the city’s finances. “It’s teetering on the brink.”

Anxieties remain high even after financial experts found more $1.3 million for the city from unused bonds.

Council also moved to allow Tyrell to defer $6.6 million dollars from capital projects on hold to help the city make ends meet through the end of the year, including a payment of more than a million dollars to settle a lawsuit filed by the city’s wastewater authority.

Included among the projects being deferred were various utility upgrades, including upgrades to the Poor Creek Main and lines and water tank upgrades, museum and field course upgrades, and a city hall replacement.

4f496a4c354649c8908ac92dfbe294cbSpeakers representing the Robert Bobb Group expressed the need for the city to stop issuing revenue anticipation notes within five years and developing a healthy cash reserve for fluctuating revenues moving forward.

Rudolph was one of several residents who took the podium to express displeasure at the city’s ongoing financial issues, calling city management ‘inept’ in light of what the Robert Bobb Group had uncovered since taking over the city’s operations.

After Friday’s payroll, a debt payment and other costs, it’s estimated the city will have less than $78,000 in its bank account.

“We will be working over the next couple of days to make sure every dollar that should be coming into the city is received,” said Robert Bobb of the RBG consulting firm, acknowledging that the current amount in the city’s account is “pretty low.”

Consultants will report back to city council on December 5 with an update.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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