All 10 candidates for the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors participated in a candidate forum Oct. 17 at the new Workforce Development Center at John Tyler Community College’s Chester campus.
About 100 people attended the event, which featured questions asked by the audience through moderator Bob Holsworth.
Candidates were typically given 15 or 30 seconds to answer questions, some of which included imposing a 2-percent meals tax and taking over maintenance of Chesterfield’s public schools.
In regard to a meals tax, which county voters turned down by a 56-to-44 percent margin in 2013, pretty much all of the candidates supported having residents vote on it, although Bermuda and Matoaca district candidates, Jim Ingle and Kevin Carroll, said they personally oppose it. The 2013 measure would have raised an estimated $353 million that would have largely funded school renovation or construction.
On taking over operations of school buildings from the school board in wake of Legionella bacteria being found this year in cooling towers at five schools, several candidates were in favor, including Dale district candidates Jim Holland and Tammy Ridout and Bermuda candidate Ingle. Holland said he’s been pursuing it for years. “The Board of Supervisors is responsible for it,” he said.
Bermuda candidate Murti Khan said he wanted to see who will be elected to an all-new school board and have conversations with them. Matoaca district candidates Kevin Carroll and Shajuan Mason said they wanted to “look at it.”
Six of the candidates were also asked about whether they support a controversial Midlothian Special Area Plan. Ridout called it a “good project,” but said some of it needs to be tweaked. “Young people want to live in high-density areas,” she said.
Holland said he’s still reviewing what he called a “good plan,” but added, “I’m very concerned about not overcrowding our schools.”
In closing remarks, Holland said the Dale District is doing well and must do better. He noted the county’s AAA bond rating and the airport expansion as some examples of accomplishments. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he said.
Ridout took a dig at Holland’s naming of Michael Jackson – who is running for county treasurer – to the Planning Commission. “The Dale District deserves a supervisor who will appoint a Planning Commissioner based on sound principles,” she said. Jackson has faced questions over a 2014 forgery charge that was dismissed, along with delinquent personal property taxes from 2011 to 2015.