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Chesterfield County unveils next fiscal year’s almost $2B budget

Chesterfield County Administration Building
Ian M. Stewart
VPM News
Chesterfield County home and business owners could see a one-time, 5% real estate tax rebate as soon as this summer.

Highlights include tax rebates and local funds for a Powhite Parkway expansion.

On Tuesday, Chesterfield County officials walked local media through their proposed fiscal 2024 budget before unveiling it for supervisors on Wednesday.

Inside the $1.94 billion budget — an increase of just over 9% from the current budget — are items to please business and homeowners, a higher wage for county workers and teachers, and relief for drivers hoping to get to Woodlake quicker.

Tax Relief

Chesterfield County home and business owners could see a one-time, 5% real estate tax rebate as soon as this summer.

Officials are proposing allocating $10 million in reserve funds from a 2022 surplus to pay for the rebate, which would be for the first half of real estate tax bills due this June.

Matt Harris, deputy county administrator for finance, said Chesterfield is trying to be empathetic to the pressures that homeowners are facing because home assessment increases.

“We want to find a way to reimburse our customers for, you know, these higher tax bills last year. And that's what we're doing here,” said Harris.

Officials said It’s the first time in the county’s history they’ve ever offered a tax rebate.

“Fortunately, I don't have to spend any money on postage,” said Harris. “This credit will be placed directly on residential and commercial real estate bills [which will] go out in April and is due back in June.”

Harris said the rebates total about $13 million in reimbursements.

The proposal is part of the county’s overall, comprehensive $36 million tax relief package in its fiscal 2024 budget. That also includes a proposed reduction in the overall real estate tax rate, which is currently at 92 cents per $100 of assessed value.

FY 2024 current versus proposed rates and fees: real estate (per $100 assessed) from 92 centers to 91 cents; water (per 100 cubic feet) $2.36 to $2.43; sewer (per 100 cubic feet) $2.43 to $2.56
Chesterfield County
The county may be able to trim real estate taxes, but water and sewer rate proposals will likely increase.

“On the heels of a 3-cent rate cut last year, we are trimming the real estate rate another penny to take it to the lowest rate in modern history at 91 cents,” Harris said. “So that is a $5 million-dollar recurring benefit for the community.”

Harris said county officials recognize that assessments for home prices remain at “an elevated level,” but they are also seeing prices come down.

“I think no matter what [the] real estate market across the country, we are seeing them normalized,” he said. “And we saw that this year, they came down from double digits into the 7, 8%range. We had one of the lower assessment increases in the region. That being said, we still wanted to make sure and be cognizant of that increase, is a real cost.”

While real estate tax rate will go down, increases in water and sewer rates may go up.

Powhite Parkway extension

Harris touted the recent voter-passed $540 million bond referendum, which will pay for new schools, libraries and parks and recreation projects. Having the two dozen projects under the bond taken care of frees the county up to concentrate on other infrastructure projects — like using local funds to pay for the first phase of extending the Powhite Parkway.

“It doesn't get it all the way,” said Harris. “But this is an absolute critical infrastructure project for us, not only for a general quality of life, traffic congestion, but also from an economic development perspective to make sure that we can ultimately get to the upper Magnolia track.”

Harris said phase one of the $153 million project would extend State Route 76 from its current stopping point at Charter Colony out to Woolridge Road. The full length of the extension would see it ending at Route 60/Hull Street, according to county officials.

Westbound Powhite Parkway
VDOT Visual Communications via Flickr
Westbound traffic on the express lanes of the Powhite Parkway is monitored by video cameras mounted above the highway.

He said county administration is taking the lead to push the project forward by not waiting for state and federal partners to join, adding that phase one designs are already underway.

“We are showing our cards and saying this is a priority for Chesterfield County,” he said. “It is the first time that you have seen this in a CIP. So that's a that's a really big announcement for us, because [it’s] not the full part of the project. There is a phase two, which the Board of Supervisors last year appropriated some dollars to do some of the beginning design work and some of the engineering.”

Starting Wednesday, the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors will begin holding district town hall and Facebook Live meetings to discuss the budget.

All meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the following locations:

Thursday, March 9Midlothian District at Midlothian Middle School
Monday, March 13Clover Hill District at Monacan High School
Tuesday, March 14Matoaca District at CTC Hull, Room D136
Wednesday, March 15Bermuda at Thomas Dale High School, Main Campus
Thursday, March 16Facebook Live Event (Virtual)
Monday, March 20Dale District at Meadowbrook High School
Tuesday, March 21Matoaca District at new Matoaca Elementary School

A public hearing is scheduled for March 22 followed by a board vote in early April.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.