Estimated $38 million budget deficit in Chesterfield

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - During today's joint meeting, county and school leaders got a reality check. The initial forecast for the 2011 budget was $717 million. But because of a drop in state, sales and property tax revenue, as well as the governor's proposed cuts, and a drop in property values - that budget is 20 million dollars short.

Then there's a deficit of $18 million which stems from rising healthcare costs for employees, a number of county projects already in the design stages and the replacement of equipment for several departments. It adds up to a shortfall of $38 million.

The count's budget manager Allan Carmody says a plan to control spending is already in place: there is a hiring restriction, travel costs have been cut and 100 positions will remain vacant. The school district is also expected to take similar action. Right now, it's unclear if any of the more than 3,000 county jobs will be on the chopping block.

Later this month, discussions will continue between the board of supervisors and the budget department. In October, the issue is expected to go to the streets, with residents getting a chance to weigh in.

Carmody says, prioritizing county services is key, and raising the tax-rate is a possibility. He adds, Chesterfield County was in a similar position during last year's budget- so county leaders expected this news.

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