The “State of the County” was the focus last week of a presentation by Chesterfield County Administrator James “Jay” J. L. Stegmaier. At the center of Mr. Stegmaier’s address to the Chesterfield Business Council was Chesterfield’s commitment to being a “First Choice” community.
Good value to business is one of three key elements Stegmaier says Chesterfield provides. He added that operating at a high ethical standard is essential to business and the county. “I believe it to be a critical ingredient to our success,” he said.
He also believes that an organization such as the county must actively engage with its customers.
Since the last census, Chesterfield, has grown by 4.4 percent or 13,807 residents, which is roughly equivalent to the combined increase of Henrico and Hanover.
Stegmaier told the Business Council that home sales in Chesterfield were up 20 percent in just the last year. New home sales have been driven by affordable lot prices at an average of $36 less than the surrounding jurisdictions. First and foremost, he said, families feel safe in Chesterfield as crime rates have fallen for the last 10 years.
Education has always been a drawing card for families looking to locate in the Richmond area. Stegmaier said high school graduations are at an all time high, 60 percent of students are earning advanced diplomas, 61 schools are accredited, SOL scores increased in all five subject areas, while the Chesterfield Public School System was one of only five recognized recently at the White House.
New business is locating in Chestefield as well. A $2 billion, 850-acre facility (Tranlin) will begin production in 2018; the overall number of businesses has grown 10 percent since 2011.
Chesterfield is at the center of logistics on the east coast and was named so by the site selection firm – The Boyd Company. A new dedicated project manager will focus on small business, and focus resourced centers have allowed the County to have a 4.2 percent jobless rate, which is lower than the region (4.5 percent) and the state average of 4.3 percent.
Events and event venues have pushed the tourism economy here with sport tournaments, the Henricus Hops in the Park event, and others.
Stegmaier concluded that keeping ones fiscal house in order is a driving factor of the County’s success. The County’s outstanding debt is down by nearly 30 percent since 2009, and Chesterfield continues to maintain the highest bond rating (credit) for a county of the size of Chesterfield – AAA.
The reason for such a good rating is management and keeping costs down. The total amount spent for each resident of the County is $2,652 compared to Henrico at $2,912; Roanoke at $3,572 and as high as $4,739 per capita in Arlington.
Stegmaier says the best times are ahead for Chesterfield County.