Chesterfield adopts budget despite no state budget decision | News
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Despite uncertainty with the state budget, Chesterfield approves a more than one billion dollar spending plan. But county leaders made sure to set aside some money as protection against the unknown. About three million in taxpayer dollars is off limits for now.
Localities like Chesterfield don't know how the state budget will affect the Virginia Retirement System and funding for schools. County budget officials said that's why they have a contingency plan.
After many months and long hours crunching numbers. Chesterfield nailed down a $1.15 billion budget. One with a built in contingency plan with enough funds according to county leaders to anticipate changes.
"The contingency in place accounts for about another 17% of those new dollars because there is some unfinished business downtown," said Chesterfield Budget Director, Allan Carmody.
A better economic climate left Chesterfield with an additional $16.7 million in revenue to spend. Roughly 80% of that will go toward public safety.
Not knowing what state lawmakers will do, Chesterfield set aside three million of that extra cash. The state provides money for a portion of the schools operating budget which would include Virginia Retirement System expenses.
"We think we've got a pretty good handle on what may come from the state. We want to get that last piece of information," said Carmody.
$532 million goes to schools.
"We have enough money reserved in this budget. We're talking about adopting to fund schools to the level we committed to, essentially no classroom changes," said Midlothian District Supervisor, Dan Gecker.
$138 million is earmarked for public safety. Money to train new police recruits and maintain certifications for officers already on the streets.
Fire officials said 40% of fire trucks have been in service longer than 10 years. The fire department will replace trucks and be able to fund a full year cost for a new firefighter career development program.
Public safety and education are priorities not just for the county but families.
"Very attractive to families wanting to find a quality place to live," said Carmody.
Budget officials will return to the Board of Supervisors in April to likely bring up an amendment to address the outstanding issues with VRS and school funding.
The budget takes effect July 1st. Also today, county leaders approved a slight increase in utility fees.
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