Chesterfield County approves budget, tax hike - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Chesterfield County approves budget, tax hike

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Chesterfield County adopted its 2015 budget Wednesday night and for those who live in the county, the vote will impact your wallets.

The Board of Supervisors approved a tax hike to avoid some budget cuts. Homeowners will pay 96-cents for every $100 assessed, an increase of a penny.

Most of the money will go toward capital improvements for the county school system. The county also plans on hiring 112 teachers come September, which will mean smaller class sizes.

But the emphasis on education comes at a cost. While the penny increase will bring in an extra $3 million for the county, it will cost the homeowner of, say, a $200,000 home an extra $20 a year.

The total budget approved is $763.9 million, that's $8 million less than what was originally proposed. Still, the real-estate tax rate didn't come without controversy.

Two of five board members were against the increase.

"I felt it was placing an undue burden on our citizens when we could fund the same thing within our budget with several reductions," said the Board Vice Chairman Steve Elswick.

While the county administrator sided with the majority of the board saying, the increase is necessary.

"Many of our taxpayers, their primary investment is their home and the budget that the board has adopted is one that will preserve the value of their homes," said County Administrator Jay Stegmaier.

The county originally proposed a 4.5% tax raise but because that number was whittled down, county officials say, the school improvements they have planned will take nine years to complete instead of seven.

Another reason is that Chesterfield residents voted down the meals tax back in November, which would have allowed the county to make those improvements sooner.

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