What is a bond referendum?
A bond is a form of debt obligation that, when issued, provide a government with funds to finance large capital improvements. As a vital component of the local democratic process, citizens vote important community-based topics, focused primarily on major capital projects. A bond program includes both the authority to issue bonds and a listing on purposes for which the funds may be used. The sale of municipal bonds is a form of long-term borrowing that spreads the cost of major capital improvements over the life of the facility. This method of financing ensure that current and future users help pay for the improvements.
What can General Obligation (GO) Bonds be used for?
General Obligation Bonds allow the county to pay for major capital investments having a public purpose, such as schools, public safety facilities, parks and libraries. Bonds are sold to investors and the proceeds from the sale of these bonds are used to pay for capital projects. Bond funds cannot be used for everyday operating costs.
Project Criteria for Evaluating Bond Referendum Projects
- Does the project resolve a critical or time-sensitive need?
- Does the project align with the county’s Strategic Plan and Public Facilities Plan?
- Does the project address major maintenance issues?
- Does the project work to maximize existing resources, such as proposing a renovation or rebuild?
- Does the project propose eliminating lease space?
- Does the project further community revitalization efforts?
And specifically for schools…
- Is the project responsive to changing student enrollment, academic programs, and facility conditions?
A long standing history of bond referendums in Chesterfield County:
|1976||Schools, public safety|
|1978||Sewer, landfill, admin building, fire station, parks, library|
|1981||Schools, school board selection, solid waste disposal, fire station|
|1985||Schools, roads, fire stations, parks|
|1988||Schools, public safety, library, parks, mental health|
|1996||Schools, public safety, library, parks|
|2004||Schools, public safety, library, parks, roads|
|2013||Schools, public safety|
2013 Bond Referendum Update
What was approved?
In November 2013, Chesterfield County voters overwhelmingly approved the issuance of $304 million in bonds to support school facility improvements and $49 million in bonds to support the replacement of the county’s emergency communications system. As the school projects began to develop, the school division determined that it was more fiscally responsible to replace, rather than renovate, five of the schools originally planned as renovations. Thus the 2013 referendum package was expanded from $304 million to $402 million to accommodate the full rebuilds.
So, how’s it going?
The School division has seen great success with the new prototype designs and the new third-party construction and administration model is working well. Construction bids are generally coming in within or under budget, which should provide additional resources to redeploy for other key capital initiatives, like major maintenance, later on.
On the public safety front, the Emergency Communications system implementation is making considerable progress. Additional towers are being added to the communication network, new radios have been installed and are in use today, and the technology system infrastructure is being built-out with the expectation to go-live during FY2022. Once completed, these upgrades will provide broader network capabilities and overall better system support. As a regional project, the benefits will not only be for Chesterfield residents, but also support emergency services no matter where you are within the metro-Richmond or tri-cities areas.
|Monacan High School Renovation||Completed, September 2016||$17,281,800|
|Providence Middle School Renovation||Completed, January 2018||$27,970,000|
|Beulah Elementary School Replacement||Completed, September 2018||$30,407,000|
|Enon Elementary School Replacement||Completed, January 2019||$28,650,000|
|Old Hundred Elementary School (New)||Completed, September 2019||$34,169,000|
|Manchester Middle School Replacement||Completed, September 2020||$49,609,000|
|Matoaca Elementary School Replacement||Completed, September 2020||$33,760,000|
|Harrowgate Elementary School Replacement||Completed, September 2020||$34,677,100|
|Crestwood Elementary School Replacement||Completed, March 2021||$34,628,300|
|Project||Expected Opening Date||Total Budget|
|Ettrick Elementary School Replacement||August 2021||$33,760,500|
|Reams Elementary School Replacement||August 2021||$33,491,100|
|Emergency Communications System Replacement||FY2022||$65,179,600|