I am seeking re-election to maintain an exceptional quality of life and expand opportunities for all citizens. I’ve been proud to collaborate with residents, our School Board Representatives, and other elected officials in the state and in the region, as well as our regional organizations and other stakeholders in continuing to move Chesterfield forward. We have created a more citizen-centered local government emphasizing high-quality services, compassion, transparency, technology and fiscal accountability.
Maintain our School Division’s Facilities & Build Safe, New Facilities for the Future
While the School Division has made significant progress in the maintenance of its buildings, we still fight state funding headwinds that place additional pressures on operations. This results in our continued need to develop a long-term plan with the School Board that funds the division’s major maintenance reinvestment at 2.5% of pay-go funding annually while continuing to build safe, modern schools. We continue to add enhancements to all our school facilities pursuant to the School Safety Task Force’s recommendations. As a member of the School Safety Task Force, Chris fought to include more funding for safety improvements to the capital plan and increased coordination with the Chesterfield Police Department. Chesterfield’s bond referendum passed last November with 75% of the vote, a real positive for the Clover Hill District because of the investment it places in our school facilities – AM Davis Elementary School Replacement ($40m), New Western 360 Area High School ($135m), Midlothian Middle School Replacement ($100m).
Emphasize Recruitment & Retention in Public Safety & Public Schools
Through extensive dialogue and planning, Chesterfield County has greatly increased pay for our teachers and first responders through county-wide pay plans. In conjunction with these efforts, in 2022, Chesterfield, for the first time ever, became the teacher-pay leader among counties in the region. In the midst of a national labor shortage, we will need to work with our state and local elected officials and departments to provide resources to attract talent to our County. We also need to emphasize recruitment and retention of our hardworking men and women in public safety. While some jurisdictions chose to defund their police departments, we went the opposite direction, providing pay plan and equipment budget increases to ensure Chesterfield Police, Fire and Sheriff’s offices were able to do their jobs well. As a result, Chesterfield remains the #1 jurisdiction in the metropolitan region in crime per capita.
Focus on Job Growth & Commercial/Industrial Ratio
While Chesterfield continues to lead the region in job growth, we must continue to seek greater balance in our residential/commercial/industrial tax base ratio, capitalizing on areas with existing infrastructure, incentive programs and planning for future job centers. Last year, as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Chris negotiated the final terms to bring LEGO’s first manufacturing facility in the United States to Meadowville Technology Park. Civica, Plenty, Carvana and LEGO all announced in 2022 represents over $2b of capital investment and 2,000+ jobs added to our local economy. We will need to continue working directly with employers, schools and our community college system to ensure our graduates have the hard and soft skills necessary for employment.
Press the Gas Pedal on Infrastructure and moderate Growth
Through a lot of conversation and coordination with CVTA and our state partners, we have planned and partially funded the first phase of Powhite Parkway’s extension from its current terminus to Woolridge Rd with interchanges at Charter Colony and Woolridge. Long range planning of Powhite to Hull Street Rd is also underway. Other projects underway include the extension and expansion of Woolridge Rd, several key improvements to the 288/360 interchange area, Otterdale Rd. and the Hull Street Rd corridor. We must continue to leverage our resources and relationships at the local, state and federal levels to address infrastructure needs across the County while timing growth with those improvements.
Add Quality-of-Life Enhancements for All
Chesterfield should continue to invest in quality of life enhancements – such as the library expansion in Midlothian and the refurbishment of LaPrade Library, pickleball courts, new parks and park expansions – that serve our growing and thriving population.
Continue efforts to incentivize private investment in aging homes and businesses by investing in public infrastructure, planning for the future like the American Planning Association’s award-winning Rockwood Special Focus Area Plan in Clover Hill, partnering with non-profits, and emphasizing our tax incentive and abatement programs.
Protect our Environment through Relationships, Technology and Regulation
We have grown our efforts to protect the Swift Creek Reservoir, our streams, our air, and our parks and conservation areas by working with Environmental Engineering, individuals, nonprofits and homeowner associations to restore, protect, and enlarge Resource Protection Areas (RPAs), plant trees, maintain BMPs, limit sediment infiltration and nutrient runoff, and reduce harmful algae. As a result, our water quality and air quality in Chesterfield are excellent. We must continue to build on these efforts, working with stakeholders to ensure a bright future for all.
Reduce Opioid Use & Treat Addiction
The pandemic caused a nationwide increase in opioid use. Over 110,000 people died nationwide in 2022 alone. At the same time, Chesterfield County entered into litigation against big pharma to ensure those parties involved in the over-prescription of opioids be held accountable to our citizens. As a result, Chesterfield County will receive millions from various settlements that will go toward short and long-term investments to help our citizens and families still afflicted by opioid use and addiction. We must continue to work with our Opioid Steering Committee and our local, state and regional experts to reduce opioid deaths and plan and advocate for addiction treatment.
Provide Tax Relief
While meeting the needs of its citizens, Chesterfield must keep an eye on the taxpayer’s wallet. The pandemic, the national supply shortages, and now inflation and recession caused by aggressive national fiscal policy has created strain on the family household budget. While the county’s real estate tax rate is at a 50+ year low at .91/$100, and while we have continued to peg our county’s senior real estate relief program with social security cost of living adjustments, we must keep a focus on growing the local economic pie so that rates can be reasonable and sustainable.
Enhance Sports Facilities to Boost Citizen Experience & Tourism Revenue
Chesterfield’s sports tourism numbers have never been higher according to Richmond Region Tourism. The gains made via our smart investments in River City Sportsplex and to be made with improvements contained in the 288/Genito Special Focus Area Plan will continue to enhance family experiences in Chesterfield while boosting sports tourism revenues. We must continue to invest in this area in an all-abilities playground, splash pad, cross country track, additional fields, and more.