Draft county budget cuts still considered

Chesterfield’s Budget and Management Department, at the request of two County Supervisors, offered possible cuts to the budget to bring an earlier budget deficit in line. A new list of cuts could not only bring the budget but could create a surplus.

An earlier budget posted a negative $12 million deficit, the most recent draft proposal, meaning the budget could change before the Supervisors vote to approve it on April 9.
Some of the cuts are deep and affect some services, especially in schools and other administration departments.

Several capital projects (infrastructure only) could be put on hold or the buildings finished but not staffed, for at least another year. Specifically, the Harrowgate Fire Station and the Reams Road Library.

The budget will be adopted on April 9 with a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2015 budget on March 26.

But there could be a number of changes between now and then. The public hearing being held on March 26 could change some numbers, but not by much if history is any indication. The public will address various parts of the budget this week. The Chesterfield Budget and Management committee went over expenditures last week with a fine tooth comb. Discussions about school bus replacement, teacher salaries, Pupil Teacher Ratio PTR, (other PTR reductions, could be dialed back) this year and addition amounts over the coming years, as well as a reduction of custodial staff at schools and school administration offices.

“No school division has done more than we have,” Chesterfield County School Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome said.

But according to Budget and Management members and supervisors  Dan Gecker, Midlothian District and Jim Holland, Dale District as well as School Board Members Carrie Coyner, Bermuda District and David Wyman, Dale District, the budget adjustments are far from over.

Additional revenue has also been a goal for the administration this year. Recently, it was reported that Chesterfield would be asking other localities to help foot the bill to support the Virginia State Police finance the Medevac units housed at Chesterfield County Airport. Chesterfield County provides the most funding out of the counties that use the service, mostly through personnel, for the two helicopters, although the Medevac units provide service for a 50-mile radius around Chesterfield.

The Budget and Management committee will meet on two additional dates before the Supervisors approve the budget on April  9.

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