Supervisors hear about broadband expansion, redistricting proposal

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The Chesterfield County supervisors heard updates about broadband expansion and a redistricting proposal during their Sept. 22 meeting and also recognized several longtime county employees.

In regard to broadband, Barry Condrey, the information systems technology department’s chief information officer, said that only 726 residences out of 116,085 lack broadband internet access.

Some may be able to access Elon Musk’s Starlink dishes next year, Condrey said.

But in the meantime, the county has applied for $7.8 million in grants from the state to provide these locations with service. It would involve 150 miles of line, he said.

Over 80 percent of the properties are in the Matoaca district, about half of which are served by Southside Electric Cooperative. The utility plans to work with Comcast should the grant be approved, he said, noting he expects to hear on the status after Jan. 1.

Condrey said that Comcast only is required to provide cable, and consequently broadband internet, to customers if there are 21 residential units per mile.

“It was a tremendous amount of work just to identify the areas that are underserved,” Matoaca Supervisor Kevin Carroll (R) said.

Comcast would contribute $1.5 million to the $10.3 million project, with Chesterfield kicking in $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Redistricting 

County Attorney Jeffrey Mincks detailed a redistricting proposal that would reallocate population among four of the county’s five districts. Bermuda would not be affected.

Matoaca grew the fastest over the 10-year period covered by the 2020 US Census.

The proposal would move two areas consisting of 5,232 people from Mataoca to the Clover Hill and Midlothian districts.

As the smallest of the five districts, Dale would receive areas representing 1,575 people from Midlothian and 2,381 from Clover Hill. These two additions would smooth out the lines in the northwest corner of the Dale District, Mincks said.

Community Facebook Live meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 13 and 19 to gather public input on the proposed map. For more information or to comment, go to chesterfield.gov/census.

A public hearing about the map will be held on Oct. 27.

Mincks noted the county population increased 15.5 percent from 2010 to 2020, rising to 365,306 residents and 138,691 housing units.

COVID-19

In September, Deputy County Administrator for Human Services James Worsley noted that the county achieved 101.46 percent of its goal, which was to have 75 percent of the eligible population vaccinated. He noted booster shots are available for targeted populations, including senior citizens and the immunocompromised.

Retirements

Several people were recognized for their numerous years of service to the county.

These include Del. Kirk Cox (R), who is in his 32nd year in the General Assembly serving Chesterfield and Colonial Heights, including two years as House Speaker (2018-2020).

Mary Ann Curtin started as a budget analyst for the county in 1984, became chief of budget in 1989 and director of intergovernmental relations in 1997. Essentially a legislative liaison, Curtin served people of both political parties well, Supervisor James Holland (D) said. Cox also gave her kudos.

James M. McDonnell Jr. was recognized for 43 years of service with the fire department and the  information systems technology department.

Michele MacPhee has 25 years working for mental health services.

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