Richmond City Council last night (2/12) approved a hike in the city’s meals tax from 6 to 7.5% percent to help build five new schools and renovate two others.
“Good Evening City Council, my name is Alexis Gresham, I attend Thomas Jefferson High School I think you should vote for the meals tax because it means my little sister can go to school and have walls in her classroom.” It began with a student and opened up to dozens of supporters and opponents. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist we are talking about 1.5 cent versus our children.”
But opponents said the plan was not transparent, had no guarantees the money would be spent on schools, and was rushed. Parker Agelasto wanted to continue it 30 days, Kristen Larson wanted a sunset clause, former council member Marty Jewel joined the opposition on the floor. “What the ham sandwich are we looking at here other than being bum-rushed.”
But, Council voted 7-2 for the increase, which supporters say will bring in about $9 million a year, and enable the city to borrow $150 million over the next five years.
The tax goes into effect July 1st.