It’s the time of year when each division at Chesterfield County Administration scrambles to complete their budgets.
As the deadline approaches for the Board of Supervisors to consider and adopt a budget for each division, a new real estate tax rate could be adopted as divisions and department work to cut where they can, without jeopardizing any programs.
Each division, as they present their budget, focus on their accomplishments for the previous year before discussing their budgetary needs for the following year. The county is currently working on fiscal year 2015. This fiscal year (FY) stretches from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.
Two divisions, Human Services and Community Development presented their budgets at a Budget and Management Committee meeting and at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Both divisions had relatively good news.
Sara Snead provided the Committee and Board of Supervisors a glimpse of the Human Services achievements over the difficult last five years. Human Services, which manages libraries, parks and recs, a plethora of services such as supporting community courts, social services and Senior Advocate and at least a dozen more, explained Ms. Snead. She added that her division had to decrease spending less than typical line items in previous years. Snead also noted the county’s dental clinic would be closing.
Snead reported that during the recession Human Services had to eliminate Thursday hours at libraries, increase efficiency on school grounds maintenance and creating partnerships to operate athletic facilities and converting the youth group home to a day reporting center.
“Everyone wants services and everyone wants them today,” said Dan Gecker, Midlothian District Supervisor. “We just don’t have the funds to do it right now.”
In FY2015, Snead reports there will be normal adjustments to salaries, benefits and healthcare. There will be additional revenue for mental health and social services and addition funding for parks and recs grounds maintenance.
During upcoming fiscal years, Snead indicates there will be additional program efficiencies, but there are a few funding sources that she says remain unsure: Expansion of Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and some other evaluations that must be completed.
Dorothy Jaeckle, Bermuda District Supervisor, remarked that she would like to see more numbers and was concerned that “some of these programs have no end game.”
Snead reported that her total operating budget is about $500,000 less than it was last year, whereas the Human Services Division budget including a special revenue fund, which includes Federal, State and revenue from other localities which Chesterfield serves is about $350,000 less than it was last year.
William Dupler, Deputy Administrator for Community Development also made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors last week. Mr. Dupler noted the county’s economic strides made over the last couple of years.
“The Cloverleaf Mall site now has the flagship Kroger’s Marketplace,” Dupler said. He also touted 23 major building projects throughout the county including the Amazon Distribution Center, Medline, Sabra and Capital One. All built in the Bermuda District.
Dupler was also enthusiastic about upcoming transportation projects in the county, which put more traffic capabilities on the ground. He pointed out projects such as a new Route 60/Route 288 interchange, Additional work on Routes 60 and 10 and an expansion of River Road along Virginia State University. He also reported on the expansion plans of Virginia State, adding a new convocation center at River Road and Chesterfield Avenue.
“Things like sidewalk improvements create a better quality of life,” Dupler said. He announced that Walmart has plans to build a grocery store at Meadowbrook Plaza.
Community Development is making inroads in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) (LEED) buildings as well he said. Capital One at Meadowville (Enon), Ortho Virginia and the counties own Community Development building.
The Community Development general fund budget increased only slightly, although utility (falls under Community Development) rates could increase for a typical residential water and sewer bill by about $4.28 bi-monthly.
Another cost associated with the Community Development division is a mandated storm water reduction service district. The storm-water district is expected to cost tax payer 1.6 cents per $100 of their home value.
Dupler also reported to the Board that he expected building permits to clear 1,650 in FY2015. Building permits for single family homes in 2013 totaled 1,065.
When Dupler had finished his presentation to the Board, he said he had a special treat for the Board and those attending the meeting. Planning staff began handing out Krispy Kreme donuts, in celebration of the recently opened donut shop at the new Stonebridge development at Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway. The staff then distributed samples of water from the Swift Creek water treatment plant in plastic bottles. The label read Chesterfield Clear “No. 1 in a Blind Taste Test.”