At Wednesday night’s meeting, the Board set a public hearing for next month to discuss ways to reinvest in the county’s workforce through a series of amendments.
The budget was first approved in April. However, according to a release, the Board of Supervisors shaved roughly $52 million from the original proposed budget through furloughs and hiring freezes in response to the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. With a rise in local sales tax receipts, continued residential development, and cost-saving measures, there is now additional revenue capacity available.
“Chesterfield employees have demonstrated outstanding resolve and commitment in ensuring the continuance of nearly all county services during months of unparalleled change. It’s time that we make a significant investment in our workforce, overall, while also dissolving longtime pay and compression challenges for our public safety employees who have not wavered from stepping to the front line of the pandemic or any other emergency,” Chesterfield Board of Supervisors Chairperson Leslie Haley said. “These amendments are a step in the right direction to show this community’s support for the work county employees do every day, while also demonstrating this board’s commitment to making Chesterfield the place where public safety and other talented professionals want to make their careers.”
If approved, the Board of Supervisors would dedicate $13.5 million to address public safety pay, which officials say is the largest investment to public safety in the county’s history.
According to a release, the proposed amendments would make starting salaries for Chesterfield Police, Sheriff, and Fire & EMS employees some of the most competitive in the state. It would also establish a new step plan for public safety career advancements and eradicate pay compression for those first responders.
County officials say proposed pay increases for all three public safety agencies would begin in January 2021, with phase two of the pay implementation plan set to launch around April 2021.
Other proposed FY21 budget amendments include:
- A two percent merit raise
- Increased investment in existing training and career development
- Lifting all departmental hiring freezes
- Dedicated resources for new equipment and infrastructure
The proposed amendments also call for hiring 10 full-time librarians, recruiting a new planning assistant director, and increases to the county’s custodial contract to keep pace with COVID-19 protocols.