Running each week through Oct. 30, the Village News will run an answer from a question posed to six Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors candidates. *incumbent
Kevin Carroll, Matoaca (R)
Managing growth and timely infrastructure improvements are always a challenge for any community. Chesterfield County’s population is estimated to be over 348,000. This is a 10-percent growth increase since the 2010 census. In the last 30 years, the area west of 360 and Old Hundred Road has continued to grow. The situation with traffic congestion during the morning and afternoon commutes is only going to deteriorate as more houses are built in the area. We need to build the Powhite Parkway extension to relieve traffic congestion in western Chesterfield. I want to work with all stakeholders to develop a plan to make this happen.
We need to encourage investment in Ettrick and work toward revitalization. With the creation of an enterprise zone in Ettrick, an opportunity has been created to spur investment and development. I will work with the community partners in Ettrick to find the right investment fit to meet the community needs.
Chesterfield County has developed a Microsoft-based forecasting tool as “a long-term value proposition” that will help elected officials make more reasoned, well-informed funding decisions about schools and all of Chesterfield’s public infrastructure. By combining available data resources, we will be able to better project school age children moving into the community.
My goal will be to work collectively with the school board, community members and county staff to better prioritize infrastructure projects. As leaders, we need to better predict population trends based on development and maintain timely infrastructure improvements that directly affect quality-of-life issues.
Shajuan Mason, Matoaca (D)
Many of our neighbors have lost respect and trust in our Board of Supervisors. In my opinion, that is our biggest problem. It is difficult for the county to thrive when it is overbearing on some, while others remain nonexistent. We are divided and there are certain localities that are still operating with a divisive mindset. This division extends beyond the relationship between the BOS and the School Board. This is apparent when certain areas have an abundance of resources and other areas are lacking. We need to support the usage of our train station and Virginia State University. We are losing many of our workers to other localities because they are getting competitive salaries elsewhere. We need to take care of our own better. We must work together and develop better working relationships that are focused on the best interests of Chesterfield County vs. selfish agendas or helping a select few. Chesterfield County is greater together, not divided. I would lead the charge in restoring the relationship between our board and the constituents. I would try to make the meetings more peaceful and family-friendly. I would modify the agenda for the meetings so that the pressing issues are not held at the end but are addressed in the beginning. Restoring trust in the leadership will allow us to conduct business more effectively, provide balance where it is needed and tackle the issues with transportation, overdevelopment, affordable housing, competitive pay, and infrastructure, etc. Chesterfield County is better together!
Jim Ingle, Bermuda (R)
The biggest issue Chesterfield faces is how we preserve and protect the quality of life that makes us so special. I believe that in order to do that, we must center our efforts on four key areas: education, public safety, revitalization and jobs/growth.
Education – We must leverage our dollars in the most fiscally responsible way that emphasizes our students and teachers and gives them the resources that they need in the classroom. As your supervisor, I will focus on collaborating with the School Board to attract and retain the best teachers, improve our transportation system and prioritize school maintenance.
Public safety – I will always ensure that the brave men and women responding to our most urgent needs receive the resources they require to do their jobs with excellence. I will place a premium on recruiting and retaining the best team and pursue an “all-in” approach to the opioid epidemic that emphasizes prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement and personal accountability.
Revitalization and maintenance of value of older neighborhoods – As supervisor, I will work to ensure that we also invest time and resources into supporting the revitalization of our older communities, as well as the maintenance of value of older neighborhoods as a key component of our economic development strategy.
Job and growth – It’s important that our county balances the future needs of the community with the concerns of existing residents through an inclusive and transparent land-use and economic development model that emphasizes consensus, consistency, predictability and a place at the table for all stakeholders.
Murti Khan, Bermuda (D)
Some of the many issues facing Chesterfield include concerns regarding quality of schools, costs associated with an aging population, lack of access to transportation, lack of sidewalks, and lack of transparency on government expenditures greater than $10 million. All of these issues reveal the biggest challenge: we must build a system of transparent government that represents people.
There are simple steps that can be taken to build this government. We need to make it easier for citizens to be involved. Appointed boards like Chesterfield’s Economic Development Authority work on multi-million dollar decisions that directly impact our neighborhoods and communities. Currently, there is no requirement for public EDA meetings to be recorded or broadcasted. This makes it harder for citizens to be informed. Boards like the EDA need to have their public meetings recorded and put online so citizens can see what their local government is doing. I asked for this publicly in 2018. Our Board of Supervisors did not listen. Chesterfield also needs to restructure and lengthen the public hearing process on major decisions. More citizen involvement in public hearings will result in better financial decisions. In addition, the board of supervisors needs to work on giving relevant information to all community members impacted by government decisions. Making our government transparent and accessible to citizens is good for people, good for business, and good for Chesterfield as a whole.
Jim Holland, Dale (D) *
Public safety, education and transportation are important issues in Chesterfield County. I proposed additional funding for first responders’ professional development, preschool initiatives and key road projects. The care and maintenance of our infrastructure and facilities are very important to me. I remain diligent in replacing or renovating older homes, facilities and schools in Dale. Our Residential Incentive program is now available to property owner who want to improve their property. Thanks to approval by voters in the 2013 bond referendum, I led the effort to build a new Beulah Elementary School, which opened last year. With my approval via the budget, our Central Library was recently renovated and the former Beulah Elementary School has been repurposed to serve as a community center and office space for Parks and Recreation. In addition, I have approved a new Towne Bank and new retail development around the county office complex.
I have also approved new signage for the SwimRVA building near Iron Bridge Road. As supervisor, these are just a few things I have done to care for, maintain and enhance our infrastructure and facilities. Moving forward, let’s continue to grow the Dale District together.
Tammy Ridout, Dale (R)
The main issue currently facing Chesterfield County is maintaining the infrastructure in both the school system and in the public service areas.
The fire stations at Five Forks and Nash are still low on the infrastructure maintenance list despite the passing of the 2007 to 2009 recession.
The crime rate in Dale District is second only to Bermuda District. Dale District has a large senior population that needs first responders. Well maintained fire and police services improve the safety of all citizens, lower home insurance rates for residents, and stabilize or increase property values.
In order to support and improve the county infrastructure, I would expand the county’s business community.
Two initial ways of aiding in this expansion include:
A. Streamlining the county’s permit processes in order to get businesses up and running in a more efficient matter. It takes an average of seven months to get a site permit in Chesterfield County.
B. Encouraging citizens to participate early in the zoning process to express their concerns over infrastructure needs.
Developers are anxious to begin work on business and housing projects as zoning cases come before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
Infrastructure needs as identified by interested citizens can be satisfied with a larger tax base. Developer interests and citizen concerns are not always opposing factors. Business growth will expand the tax base as well as enlarge the tax-paying workforce housed in the county.