VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As a renovation project for the site of the Virginia Beach mass shooting now faces delays, the mayor of Virginia Beach is asking state legislators to allocate millions in funding to give the project a boost.
In a letter written Aug. 5, Mayor Bobby Dyer asked state senators and delegates to allocate $10 million in state funding for the renovation of Building 2 at the city Municipal Center, the site where 12 people were shot and killed by a city engineer on May 31, 2019.
The mayor is asking the General Assembly to allocate the Building 2 funding during its special session Aug. 18, which is scheduled to discuss police reform and the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the state budget.
Dyer said the city has already invested $4 million for engineering alone in that project, which would also renovate buildings 1 and 11 where City Hall and the 1st police precinct are housed. The renovations would help unify employees of departments that have been separated and scattered throughout the city.
The estimated $133-million project would move the city police department headquarters into a remodeled Building 2, while departments previously in Building 2 would move to renovated buildings 1 and 11.
However, those renovations have been delayed by the pandemic.
In May, City Council agreed to delay renovations for buildings 1, 2 and 11 due to revenue uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
$30 million that would have been used for the three-building renovation project has instead been placed into a reserve by City Council and will not be released until council approves it.
Deputy City Manager David Bradley said the money will stay in the reserve until the economy and city’s “revenue situation” improve.
“While this project (renovations of buildings 1, 2 and 11) is important in the aftermath of the 5/31 tragedy, we believe the City should not initially expend these funds to ensure that our cash flow is sufficient pending improvement of the economy,” a page from the city’s recently-adopted budget reads.
Bradley said staff is going to review the city’s final revenue numbers for fiscal year 2020, which went through June 30, to close that year’s accounting records this week. Staff will also review the first few months of this fiscal year, which started July 1, to see if the city’s “revenue picture” has improved.
In the Aug. 5 letter, Dyer also asked state legislators to restore $300 million in funding for K-12 education in Virginia schools.
In Virginia Beach, Dyer said the state education funding would allow a 2-percent salary increase for each year of the biennium for Standards of Quality positions.
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