Have you said, “I can’t believe what they’re doing up there,” referring to how Chesterfield County is spending tax dollars? This year’s county budget...

Have you said, “I can’t believe what they’re doing up there,” referring to how Chesterfield County is spending tax dollars? This year’s county budget and the budgets extending out for five years could be just a little different in how it is constructed.

The Chesterfield Budget and Management Department is now in the process of gathering information from citizens on what they think are the best ways to spend tax dollars, both for county administration and schools.

“Both boards (supervisors and school board members) have come together to see what the community wants and doesn’t want,” said Matt Harris, assistant budget and management director. “Instead of taking the budget to the community, we are talking to people asking what they want.”

He said people are used to seeing the budget presentations  leading to the Board of Supervisors’ approval of the tax rate and the budget which drives it. The budget is not only a document that explains what comes in and what goes out; it also predicts how the county’s services and quality of life can be improved over the next five years.

Called “Blueprint Chesterfield,” it is a system for establishing, planning for, and gathering key community priorities. The county (general government and schools) is launching a robust community engagement initiative to provide a wide range of opportunities for residents and businesses to communicate what is most important to them. With that information in hand, the Boards will then have a better pulse on the community’s thoughts on the county’s and schools’ Five-Year Plan.

The Blueprint workshop will be held July 28 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Central Library, 9501 Lori Rd.

The County’s Blueprint Chesterfield is online at http://blueprint.chesterfield.gov/.  According to the site, “The initiative also endeavors to establish a broader network of community participants and engage them on an ongoing basis. If you would like to share your community priorities with county leaders, you can take a survey conveying your feelings online. The survey is available until August 5.