Communications and Media
March 30, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — As uncertainty from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to disrupt the daily routines of Chesterfield County residents, business owners and our own employees, county leaders are advancing measures to focus on services and information while preparing for negative impacts to the local economy.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Chesterfield County has adopted a regional, multi-departmental approach to meet the emerging needs of our residents and businesses. These ongoing efforts are wide-ranging and have included providing information by setting up a call center, a coronavirus webpage and using social media to share timely information, while also taking steps to ensure residents in-need maintain access to crucial county services. In addition, Mental Health Support Services has launched Calm, Connected, Caring Chesterfield to help residents cope with the need for social distancing. These important efforts are a small sample of the work being done at all levels of Chesterfield County Government.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in unusual circumstances as the national, state and local economies continue to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines,” said Dr. Joseph P. Casey, county administrator. “It’s projected that the nation will be facing the worst-ever financial quarter. With a significant impending economic downturn, as good stewards of taxpayer monies we’ve already had to make some tough decisions and take money-saving measures.”
While real estate is Chesterfield’s main source of revenue, almost 40% of revenues are still tied directly to consumer behavior such as retail sales and travel. Included in that percentage is the county’s dependence on state revenues which are tied directly to employment and spending. Combined, these are at the heart of the current economic disruption.
To limit the reductions the county would need to make, discretionary expenditures were stopped and county department budgets were frozen. Beginning April 4, more than 500 part-time and full-time county employees will be furloughed until further notice. Roughly, 10% are currently vacant positions. A furlough temporarily places an employee on leave without pay until the economic conditions improve. Employees were notified last week and given a packet of materials outlining their eligibility for unemployment and information regarding six-months of dental and health benefits paid by the county.
“This wasn’t an easy decision and one that was not taken lightly,” said Casey. “We hope this pandemic will soon end and that our economy can make a quicker than expected comeback.”
Residents will be able to view the entire revised Chesterfield County FY2021 Budget on Friday, April 3 at blueprint.chesterfield.gov. In order to share the amended budget and provide residents with an opportunity to ask questions, the county will host two Facebook Live budget presentations at 7 p.m. on Mon., April 6 and Tues., April 7.
The county is scheduled to adopt the tax rates on April 8 in order to facilitate the associated billings followed by the rest of the budget and the utility rates on April 22. Information about how the Board of Supervisors meeting will be held, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, will be provided soon.