As part of their April 6 business meeting, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a fiscal year 2023 budget and a 3-cent reduction in the real estate property tax from 95 to 92 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The commodity portion of water and wastewater bills will be going up an average of $1.54 per month from $59.17 to $60.71.
However, George Hayes, director of utilities, said Chesterfield’s rates are “the most competitive rates in the region, if not the commonwealth.”
The increase is targeted to result in an additional $3.1 million.
As part of the $905.5 million general services budget, the supervisors voted to fully fund Superintendent Merv Daugherty’s request for salary increases for instructional staff, according to board chair Chris Winslow (R-Clover Hill).
“We offer the most competitive teacher pay in the region,” he said, adding that $4 million was added for bus drivers. Winslow said the bus driver vacancies have ended.
The new starting teacher salary will go from $46,000 to $49,481.
Some $3 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds will cover some hard-to-fill stipends, according to a board document.
“We’ve made huge leaps,” vice chair Leslie Haley (R-Midlothian) said, referring to teacher salaries.
Matt Harris, deputy county administrator, noted the budget includes a 12.1-percent increase in starting salaries for police, fire/EMS and sheriff’s office employees.
The starting salaries for each of these three departments will increase to $53,214, $53,214 and $51,006, respectively.
The budget also standardizes 2.25-percent yearly step increases, he said. In addition, promotional increases will be 13 percent.
Supervisor Jim Ingle (R-Bermuda) said he had reservations about passing a budget before the county knows exactly what’s coming from the state due to the General Assembly not completing their budget yet. “They must not understand what they do to local governments,” he said. “We will have to come back and amend it.”
Supervisor Kevin Carroll (R-Matoaca) agreed with Ingle, but noted that the county is under a May 1 deadline to approve its budget.
The county will be providing some relief from car registration fees and taxes too. The registration fee is dropping from $40 to $20 and the first $1,500 of assessed value will be exempt, an increase from $1,000. In addition, assessed values from $1,500 to $20,000 will get tax relief of 55 percent instead of around 39 percent. Winslow noted that the latter is a one-time deal.
Lift Up Ukraine
As part of the consent agenda, the supervisors approved donating 248 pieces of expired body armor to Ukraine through the Virginia Commonwealth University police.
“Even when we discard them, they’re still good,” said Carroll, a retired law enforcement officer. He called the move “a very good idea.”
The next board of supervisors’ meeting is April 27.