Chesterfield County announced Friday that upcoming community meetings on the county's proposed budget for fiscal 2021 will be conducted via Facebook Live to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.
“While no individuals to date have tested positive for COVID-19 in Chesterfield, county officials have decided to exercise an abundance of caution and implement CDC recommendations which are in line with our local state of emergency declaration,” the county said in a statement.
The virtual community meetings, co-hosted by members of the Board of Supervisors and the School Board, can be accessed through the county’s Facebook page, with the dates and times remaining the same. Updates on how residents can submit questions or view the meeting will be sent out Monday.
The next meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. The last of the virtual meetings, to be held March 24, will be the last opportunity for residents to address supervisors ahead of the board's scheduled April 8 vote to approve the budget.
Some residents have voiced heavy disappointment with County Administrator Joe Casey for offering only a 2% salary increase to teachers after Chesterfield schools Superintendent Merv Daugherty proposed an increase of 3% to 13%.
Anger regarding the budget and Casey's comments on teacher pay have sparked teacher and student protests this past week.
Ben Pearson-Nelson, president of the Chesterfield County Council of PTAs, said that while PTA members understand it’s a public health issue, they want their voices included in the process. He said that's impossible to do when they don’t know how these virtual meetings will work.
“Our job is of course to push out information to our members to empower them, and I’ve been trying to get confirmation on how we access this, but the meetings are coming up really quickly,” he said. “It’s really difficult and frustrating to not know how that works. ... I want to have a dialogue.”