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Mayor’s Budget: Three Takeaways

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1. Rolling out his proposed budget Friday, Mayor Dwight Jones talks mostly about poverty and schools. While he declines to provide the $25 million increase requested by School Superintendent Dana Bedden, he stresses that there are 9,000 empty seats in the city school system and offers $10 million to help reduce that number through right sizing. School Board members immediately express disappointment.

2. He wants to give fire and police officers a raise. They haven’t had one since 2009, and union leaders have been pleading for that to change for at least two years. Jones also is investing $400,000 in body cameras for city police officers.

3. He utters not a word about the ballpark. Last year, budget debate centered on funding for his proposal to build a Shockoe Bottom development centered on a minor league baseball stadium. The mayor’s staff has insisted that the plan isn’t dead, but this year it doesn’t get a mention.

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