Friday, April 13, 2007

Budget Passed in Chesterfield

After some open session with County residents, the BOS passed its 2008 Fiscal Budget. In a time where there is so much doubt over how the General Assembly will come down on funding for localities transportation needs it is apparent that certain members of the BOS are hopeful it will get some relief.
The budget itself is a 1.17 billion package for the county and is up sixty million from last years. Following assessments that had risen 16% in the county, county revenue would certainly have soared and outpaced population growth plus inflation. If the budgets for certaain areas within the overall budget are exceeding required or neccessary funding it begs the question why are we overlooking the dire need to fix our transportation problems. In all fairness to the BOS transportation is a tuff issue with varing dynamics, but it is a mistake on their part to take the politcally expediate way out by lowering property tax rates. The debate basically was whether the rate would be lowered from 1.04 to either .99 or .97. The final result was a tax rate of .97 per $100 of assessed value.
Looking at the statements of the BOS it appears as if the lower rate is an attempt to bring county residents relief from the assesments increase. Why is it the county is not addressing those very assessments to begin with. Chesterfield is the fourth largest locality in the State. How does it compare to the other top three?
BOS members Sowder, Warren, and Miller were the driving forces behind the target rate of .97. and overcame members Humphrey and King who sought the .99 rate.
The strangest thing about the results and this budget are that predominately everyone speaking at the open forums addressed roads, schools and the assessments themselves. In a measure to relieve residents of around $200 a year they are negelecting the roads and certainly the schools needs.
This BOS and the one elected this Fall should be held accountable to delivering a plan that would: END THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN IN TRAILERS.
The increasing problems and burdens within our county systems are a direct result of the BOS pro-growth at all costs policies and the failure to hold developers in our county accountable for their share.
Explain how the county systems/services will be able to support the Magnolia development along 360 that will begin phase one later this year. What about the infrastructure that such a development will require; new schools, new libraries and new roads. What about the impact on county life itself. Things like church memeberships are already maxed and the waiting lists at pre-schools in the county are growing as it is.
The Fall Election for the BOS will be a critical one for the future of Our County. Expect Alter of Freedom to be going door to door in support of those who are in favor of "Smart" growth.

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