Q &A: Do you want to increase, decrease or let cash proffers stay the same?

Top left, Jim Holland, Jim Ingle, Kevin Carroll
Bottom left, Murti Khan, Shajuan Mason, Tammy Ridout

Jim Holland, Dale (D) *
Our new proffers policies are working well based on a recent report to the Board of Supervisors. Since we voted to change our policies to include “Revitalization areas” in the County, we have new houses, apartments and multi-tenant complexes being built in Chesterfield. This new policy provides housing options for workers and families alike to live and work in Chesterfield, a “First Choice Community.” In the Dale District, we have a wide range of desired housing options. Recently, I directed staff to make recommendations as to how we can improve our proffer policy. As Supervisor, I plan to support polices to attract and retain businesses and affordable housing options in the Dale District.

Tammy Ridout, Dale (R)
Due to the 2016 proffer law and possible litigation, the supervisors chose to use cash proffers only for road improvements. In 2019, there was a decrease in cash proffers from 2018. However, there were in-kind proffers that contributed to making more walkable and bikeable communities. Despite the decrease in cash proffers, road improvement funds were increased by 9 percent, totaling $3.4 million. We need to ensure the denominator we use for road proffers covers not only the road construction but also road maintenance for the next 30 years.
SB 1373 became law July 1. Hopefully, this law will give communities more opportunity to arrive at creative and amicable solutions for the use of profits. If not, the Board of Supervisors will need to study proffer policies in other communities to address infrastructure needs. By providing more job opportunities and businesses in Chesterfield and supporting more co-working spaces that support the 100,000-plus residents working here, we will not need to raise the proffers. We can encourage more light industry in the Airport Industrial Park and support business development in empty commercial properties such as those near Swim RVA.
Increasing sports and history tourism also creates a healthy business tax stream. By raising proffers, the bottom line is the developers will pass the cost on to the citizens who are already concerned with affordable housing options.

Kevin Carroll, Matoaca (R)
Cash proffers are money paid by a developer to localities for each home to improve schools, roads, utilities, etc. I would argue that the new homeowner pays the proffer as it is built into the cost of the house. Essentially, it is an additional tax on some members of the community and not others. There are many houses built in Chesterfield County that have no proffer attached to them. They may have been built on lots approved prior to proffers or built on acreage where no proffer is required. When new a new house is built that has proffers attached, it raises the assessments of the existing homes in the surrounding area.  
In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly passed more restrictive regulations for proffers. Chesterfield adopted the changes by reducing cash proffers from $18,966 to $9,400. The $9,400 is the maximum amount the state will match transportation funds. Chesterfield designated the use of the proffers be used for road improvements and applied for matching funds from the state. This has resulted in Chesterfield County receiving the second-highest matching transportation dollars of any community in Virginia. Increasing proffers will inflate the cost of a home. A decrease will take away needed money to support our infrastructure.
Proffers is a very complicated issue and needs more discussion than I can give here. I agree with the current policy; however, as a community we should have open dialogue and try to find the best solution to any issue. 

Shajuan Mason, Matoaca (D)
I would increase the cash proffers. Cash proffers are a potential source of funding that can be used towards our schools, roads, infrastructure, transportation, etc. It is a huge benefit for our constituents. It would also show our constituents that they are not being ignored and that Chesterfield County does not give the developers priority. This is important because many of our constituents feel that they are not being heard and that the developers have more influence over the board. It appears that reducing the cash proffers solely benefits the developers. We need more balance. At the same time, we need to develop a working relationship with developers that will enable them to present ideas to the Board of Supervisors that will allow them the ability to cut costs so that housing can be more affordable. At the same time, Chesterfield County is extremely diverse consisting of lucrative and impoverished areas. There may be instances where a reduced proffer is necessary to ensure that those with limited incomes can obtain affordable housing. This will require developing not only a more effective relationship between the BOS and the developers (that values the input of the constituents) but developing a working relationship with our constituents and the developers. Right now many of our constituents view the developers as “the big bad Wolf.” Let’s give them the opportunity to show that they are concerned about the needs and concerns of our constituents and are willing to work together.

Jim Ingle, Bermuda (R)
Our land-use decisions play an important role in the economic and community development future of Chesterfield County. We must balance the future needs of the county while also respecting the concerns of existing residents. Under the current proffer system, the county has definitely been able to place a significant focus on transportation projects that relieve congestion, reduce commute times and leverage those local funds to attract state funds. It has also allowed us to attract revitalization investment to areas of the county that have been historically passed over.
That said, Chesterfield County was a drastically different place roughly 25 years ago when the proffer system was implemented – and will continue to evolve since the implementation of the 2016 proffer policy. As your supervisor, I will always objectively review the county’s infrastructure needs and take into account the views of the residents of the Bermuda District. Growth and land use will continue to be a top issue for the county, and that responsibility is not one that I take lightly. I am prepared to have those comprehensive discussions with the residents, county staff, and other stakeholders.

Murti Khan, Bermuda (D)
Development creates a need for more government services. Cash proffers are a fee developers pay to offset the costs their developments put on government services. Our current supervisor (Dorothy Jaeckle) voted to cut these fees on extremely wealthy developers by millions of dollars. As a result, middle-class homeowners are essentially subsidizing the bill through their real estate taxes.
Those against proffers have argued: “Cutting cash proffers will lower the cost of housing in Chesterfield.” We can see that this is incorrect because housing prices continued to increase at an expected rate without any noticeable dip after the cash proffers on developers were lowered. Homeowners and home buyers did not benefit from the policy change.
Those against proffers have also said: “The proffer law passed by the General Assembly required this huge proffer cut.” This argument is also incorrect. While the General Assembly law did put certain regulations on how proffers could be issued, it did not require reductions as large as the cuts implemented in Chesterfield.
There are many other acceptable proffer systems that would not have resulted in the large reduction we have seen in Chesterfield. The reality is very simple: developers were some of the biggest donors to 2015 Board of Supervisor campaigns. Subsequently, our elected officials voted to cut cash proffers for wealthy developers and essentially gave the bill to middle class homeowners. This was wrong.


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