In addition to the election of the new Governor of Virginia, the County of Chesterfield will be holding a ballot referendum on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. This very important referendum will ask voters if they agree with 1) raising the local meals tax, 2) making changes to he county's emergency communications system and 3) building and/or renovating schools in the district.
The elementary schools in the district seeking replacement and/or renovation include Enon Elementary School which was built in 1928, Matoaca Elementary, built in 1937, Beulah Elementary, built in 1947, Harrowgate Elementary, built in 1959, Reams Elementary, built in 1968, Crestwood Elementary, built in 1962, and Ettrick Elementary, built in 1967. The middle schools included are Providence Middle, built in 1968, Manchester Middle, built in 1964. Currently, Monacan High, built in 1979, is the only high school in need of renovating. Although all of the above may have had updates, additions or renovations, the basic building structure has remained the same, and additional changes are still needed. Also it is suggested that a new school be built to relieve overcrowding from Watkins Elementary School. Overcrowding is an issue at several of the other schools as well. When voters vote "yes" to this issue, the ten schools and the addition of another school, l will be renovated or replaced.
Raising the local meals tax is a Greater Richmond issue, and Chesterfield County is one of the last counties to jump on board. Currently, the City of Richmond has a six percent meals tax in place that is currently supporting Richmond City Schools. Restaurants owners, that have either migrated to the county or have additional restaurants built in Chesterfield, have had to charge less of a tax to their customers than their Richmond counterparts. The referendum will only be an 2 % increase, thus lessening the difference from other areas, while contributing to the schools in Chesterfield. This may lose some current customers who frequent taurants in Chesterfield for a lower tax. Other districts from Louisa County to Prince George County have already a tax in place ranging from 4 to 6 percent, including the City of Colonial Heights, which has a 6% meals tax. Currently Henrico County, who has a heavy restaurant population, is considering adding a 4% meals tax on their referendum to be voted on November 5th. The, amount in Chesterfield County, 2%, is not negotiable, therefore if voters vote "yes" to this question, the tax will be in effect.
Replacing the old emergency system is the third issue on the bond referendum.The system is for use by first responders and supervisors in the Emergency Management Department to dispatch emergency personnel, such as policemen and firemen. Those who have access to the communications system are able to notify personnel in surrounding counties of possible dangers, such as a look-out for a wanted criminal, or special circumstances that may affect traffic, such as the fires. The new system will have updates to enable quicker responses. Currently the system in place by Motorola and will need to be updated by 2017.
The last community meeting about the referendum will be on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7 pm at Thomas Dale High School in Chester, Virginia, and will be for citizens in the Bermuda District.
Remember your vote counts!
For more information about the referendum, vist www.yourvoicefirstchoice.com