What is the biggest challenge your district faces today and what will you do as supervisor to confront it over the next four years?
MARK FAUSZ - BERMUDA
The challenges we face in Bermuda range from addressing teacher pay and ballooning class size to building and manning a fire station on the southern end of Harrowgate Road. Our needs are plenty and our resources have been sent elsewhere by our current supervisor.
If our supervisor didn’t vote to send our tax money to other districts so villages like Midlothian can maintain its high ranking as one of the best communities in the United States and its high school one of the top 1,500, would Bermuda be in better shape?
If block grant funding for Jefferson Davis Highway weren’t on the chopping block as the Jefferson Davis Association is systematically dismantled by our current supervisor, would we have the Rt. 1 challenges we have today?
If our supervisor exercised some sort of parity between the rest of the county’s villages and the Village of Chester, would we be better off?
Sure we would. I will work to make sure Bermuda get its fair share. I won’t ignore redevelopment issues on Jefferson Davis Highway. I’ll work to bring schools the funding they need to bring back the 500 teaching positions lost and I’ll make sure we are kept safe through my support for public safety. I will not coddle to special interests, which compromise our integrity in the region and leave us vulnerable to the whims of an elite few.
With your help I will find solutions and keep Bermuda from playing second fiddle to the rest of the county.
DOROTHY JAECKLE - BERMUDA
With the rapid growth of Fort Lee just south of the Bermuda District, as well as the industrial and technological expansion in and around our district, our home has become the focal point of economic development in the region. Our location on the I-95 and I-295 corridors, as well as Route 1, has made Bermuda the center of regional job growth. We need to make sure that Chesterfield County and the state of Virginia continue to fund road and infrastructure improvements in our district such as the Meadowville interchange and the widening of Route 10. Such projects bring job growth and attract better housing to our district. We need to understand, plan, and properly manage that growth so services do not suffer and positive expansion is facilitated.
The other major challenge involves schools. Many Bermuda District schools are offering fewer valuable electives and advanced courses than schools in other Chesterfield districts. Parents interested in their children having better choices are moving to the western side of the county where they know the student population supports these classes. There is a tendency to blame budget cuts for this lack of choice. In the past, Chesterfield has been able to fund these elective classes so all students in the county would have equal opportunity – even in times of very tight budgets. If the current trend continues, the Bermuda and Dale districts will suffer. Many assume that demographics drive school policy, but the two boards need to address how school policy also drives demographics.
JAMES "JIM" HOLLAND - DALE
CLIFF BICKFORD - DALE
In the Dale District the biggest challenge will be to get older neighborhoods to embrace the value of revitalization and to create opportunities for redevelopment in the aging commercial corridors. Pride in ownership is extremely important in any community particularly when confronted with the issue of infrastructure that has been in place for several decades. The key is to provide a hand, not a hand-out, in the areas that are suffering from the most significant decline in order to build momentum that can be carried over from one neighborhood to the next. The county already has a committee of citizen volunteers in place that have made significant progress in this all important area, and encouraging their continued good work will be vital to the Dale District going forward!
MARLEEN DURFEE - MATOACA
Over the past 10 years the residential growth rate of Matoaca was twice that of any other district in Chesterfield County, leading to an imbalance in the residential/commercial tax base. This resulted in an inability to adequately fund the citizens’ public facility and service needs. Over the past four years, I have worked closely with business leaders and concentrated on strengthening economic development to provide new jobs and increased commercial tax revenue; for example the Chesterfield Avenue Enhancement Project in Ettrick (creating a college-town atmosphere open to new business), Hancock Village complex on Hull St. (850 new jobs), and the $20M “Uptown Alley” project (creating 100+ new jobs).
Since Matoaca encompasses almost half the size of Chesterfield and is the geographical size of Henrico, it is logical to believe that growth will continue, especially when the large number of zoning cases already approved is taken into account. Therefore it is essential that we quickly close the gap between citizens’ services needed and those provided. We must learn from the past and strategically plan for the future. Within six months of taking office, I revised the Upper Swift Creek Plan using current data and updated planning measures which resulted in more economic development opportunities and better planned development. On a greater scale, I initiated the revision of the Countywide Comprehensive Plan so that the county can use these same tools to protect our quality of life and ensure a healthy and vital community in the future.
STEVE ELSWICK - MATOACA
The biggest challenge faced by the Matoaca District at this time is to have an effective voice on the Board of Supervisors, a voice that can work in a spirit of cooperation rather than conflict. The best idea in the world goes nowhere if it cannot be properly communicated with others.