Voting and taxes were on the agenda of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors last week. The supervisors voted unanimously to split five precincts...

Voting and taxes were on the agenda of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors last week.

The supervisors voted unanimously to split five precincts as a result of higher than normal turnout in last November’s election. In addition, the voted 5-0 to advertise the county’s real estate property tax rate at 95 cents per $100 of assessed value. The latter represents the same rate as 2018.

The new precincts are Iron Bridge North at the Cultural Center of India, Ridgedale at Swim RVA, Longhouse at Union Branch Baptist Church, Magnolia at Chesterfield Baptist Church and Clover Hill at Clover Hill High School.

In addition, the Ettrick precinct will move from Ettrick Elementary School to Virginia State University’s multipurpose center.

Matt Harris, deputy county administrator for finance and administration, told the board that the changes need to be made by Feb. 1 in time for Virginia’s off-year election in November. They can’t be changed again until 2021.

Although there are still four precincts with more than 5,000 registered voters, Harris said that county staff recommended changing the busiest five precincts. He said Ettrick is a “unique precinct” and the largest of the remaining with more than 5,000 voters, but has “a very low turnout rate” historically.

Matoaca District Supervisor Steve Elswick supported moving the Ettrick precinct to VSU. He said several citizens and poll workers told him that since Ettrick is such a tight, small community, it was not right to split it.

Harris said that additional resources would be provided to the Ettrick precinct at VSU.

Last November’s election resulted in the largest midterm on record in Chesterfield, he said, noting that it was a 40 percent increase from 2014.

Tax rate
Budget director Meghan Coates said real estate valuations are running at 3.25 percent more than last year. The county’s property valuations have been running at 3.23 percent per year since 1995, she said.

Coates said she will present a detailed presentation at the supervisors’ Feb. 27 meeting. A public hearing was scheduled for March 27.

Other news
As part of the consent agenda, the supervisors approved a number of proposals. They are:

•Transferring $1 million in savings from the Beulah Elementary School project and $1.07 million from the Enon Elementary School project to the nearly $40 million construction project at Manchester Middle School.

•Transferring $1.2 million in savings from the Enon Elementary School project to one at Harrowgate Elementary School, which restores that construction project’s budget to $34.67 million.

•Authorizing county staff to apply for grants to improve the Ettrick train station, which could be relocated to Colonial Heights in the future. The station was built in 1955 and needs to be improved to accommodate an increased demand for service and to meet current station standards including physical accessibility.

Grants for station improvements are available through the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund managed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The funds come from a special fund within Virginia’s Transportation Trust Fund that was established by the General Assembly. The grants do not require matching funds, so no local match would be required.