According to a spokesperson for Chesterfield County, a combination of cost-saving measures, higher sales tax revenue, and accelerated residential growth allow the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to reinvest in the county’s workforce by increasing salaries and hiring new employees.
The FY21 budget was first approved in April. However, the Board of Supervisors shaved roughly $52 million from the original proposed budget through a series of measures that included furloughs and hiring freezes because of the economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a rise in local sales tax receipts, continued robust residential development and early cost saving measures in April provided additional revenue capacity and the Board of Supervisors is planning to invest that additional revenue into the county’s workforce.
More specifically, the Board of Supervisors is planning to dedicate $13.5 million to address public safety pay – the largest investment to public safety in the county’s history.
If approved, the measure would make starting salaries for Chesterfield Police, Sheriff and Fire/EMS employees some of the most competitive in the state. It also would establish a new step plan for public safety career advancements and eradicate pay compression for Chesterfield Police, Sheriff and Fire/EMS.
Proposed increases to county public safety compensation are part of a pay study conducted earlier this year at the request of the Board of Supervisors and county administrators.
Phase one of the 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 to address step increases and pay compression.
Aside from addressing compensation for public safety workers, other proposed FY21 budget amendments highlight additional investment in the county’s government workforce that 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.
Furthermore, 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.
The Board of Supervisors has set a public hearing regarding budget amendments during its final board meeting of the year on Dec. 16. Chesterfield Board of Supervisor Chairperson Leslie Haley said the Board’s decision to invest in the county’s public safety and government workforce is a result of the workforce’s dedication to maintaining county services throughout the pandemic.
“Chesterfield employees have demonstrated outstanding resolve and commitment in ensuring the continuance of nearly all county services during months of unparalleled change. It is 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 frontline of the pandemic or any other emergency,” 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.”
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