Expect County push to answer FAQ on meals tax, bond referendum

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Whether you pay more to eat out is a hot issue on the table for Chesterfield County voters. But, before you hit the polls in November, County leaders want to make sure you know a lot about your choices in the voting booth.

That's why you can expect a big information push leading up to November 5. You may find informational flyers in your utility bills, posters in businesses with frequently asked questions, a web page, and even a Facebook post to learn more about the referendum.

"We are designing a plan that the citizens, by the time they get to November 5, and they're in a voting booth, they have had an opportunity to understand why these questions are being placed on the ballot," said Jay Stegmaier, County Administrator.

There are three separate things to vote on come November.

1) Whether to allow the Board of Supervisors to borrow money to upgrade 20-year-old public safety communication equipment.

2) Whether to allow the Board of Supervisors to borrow money to upgrade aging schools (and build one school).

3) Whether to allow the Board of Supervisors to consider a 2% meals tax that would pay for capital improvements to schools and public safety.

County officials aren't the only ones starting to talk about the meals tax. A lot of restaurants in Chesterfield County are worried about what it could do to business. They've let customers know by putting up "No Meals Tax" signs.

Stegmaier emphasized that it is not the job of county officials to decide which choice is best - in a true democracy, that's up to the voters.

"One of the things that we don't want to do is give the impression that we're advocating one way or the other," said Stegmaier. "For a yes or a no vote."

But leaders do want to make sure voters have the chance to ask questions and understand the issue all the way to the bottom.

Officials say County representatives will be available to go to community meetings, by request, to speak more on the issue and answer questions.

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