The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $711 million budget last week that will result in a 1-cent reduction in the real...

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $711 million budget last week that will result in a 1-cent reduction in the real estate property tax rate, a 3.5-percent utility rate increase and a 4.1-percent increase in the utility connection fee.

Chairwoman Dorothy Jaeckle said that some $25,000 was added to the budget for the Jefferson Davis Association as a result of pleas by residents who live along North Jefferson Davis Highway.

“It shows the impact of coming out to meetings,” she said. “After the Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan is approved, the steering committee will come up with some recommendations, and we will be making budget amendments …” (The supervisors will consider approval of the plan at 6 p.m. April 25.)

The budget allocates funds for 2-percent merit increases for school personnel, targeted pay increases for substitute teachers, rebuilds of five elementary schools, expansion of Matoaca Middle School and consolidation onto one campus, increase in starting pay for sheriff’s deputies to $40,500 by July 1, one new social services position to assist able-bodied benefit recipients find and maintain jobs, a 2.3-percent pay raise for qualified general government employees, eight new firefighter positions that will support 24-7 staffing of the Harrowgate Station, three new full-time police department positions including a logistics technician for the property room, a strategic crime analyst to bring about “smarter” deployment of officers, an opioid outreach coordinator, five part-time officers, and earlier replacement of police vehicles.

“I think this is a good budget,” Matoaca District Supervisor Steve Elswick said.

“I’ve seen some really difficult budget times. This has probably been one of the smoother budget processes I’ve seen over many years,” Dale District Supervisor Jim Holland said.