Chamber, Business Council throw support behind meals tax, bond referendum

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Chesterfield Chamber and Commerce and Chesterfield Business Council have both thrown their support behind a proposed meals tax and bond referendum in Chesterfield County.

The issues go before voters in November, with the bond referendums designed to update public safety communications equipment and aging schools.

The meals tax is a hot subject right now in Chesterfield County. The County Chamber and Business Council both represent area restaurants, some of which have expressed concern about how a meals tax could impact business.

Both groups say after extensive research, they support both the improvements and the meals tax, designed to pay for them.

Brennen Keene, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said he knew the decision may seem surprising, because the chamber typically has a fiscally conservative approach to issues like this one. But after the research, he says this is the fiscally conservative approach.

"The fiscally conservative thing to do was actually to proceed with these projects, because the county is wasting money on old facilities, just keeping them up and occupied," explained Keene.

John Bennett, with the Chesterfield Business Council says newer school facilities can also help improve real estate values and attract more businesses, more tax base, and a better future.

"When we have school facilities that are at the highest level," explained Bennett. "You couple that with the results that our schools will be able to have it really becomes business attraction to the area."

But the sign in the window at Klara's Kitchun sums up how she feels. She's worried a meals tax could really hurt business, possibly even force her to close.

"The last five years has not been good for restaurants," said owner Joan Mitchell. "When you look around at all the restaurants that have gone out of business just in the last five years, one right up the street here just in the last three months."

Click here to read the full release from the Chamber and Business Council:

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.