CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County leaders think they have a better picture of what residents want to see done with their taxpayer money.
The county released results from “Blueprint Chesterfield,” an online survey that asked residents to rank their top priorities regarding county services.
More than 6,200 unique surveys were filled out by residents from every district, according to county leaders. It was first time Chesterfield leaders asked for community input using an online survey, leaders said.
Respondents listed education, public safety, and transportation as the main areas they want leaders to focus on over the next five years.
Participating residents said they would like to see the county focus less on residential communities, standardized testing in schools, and construction of big box stores.
New Chesterfield County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey said even though the survey was in the works before he took the helm, the information serves as “free advice” for how they make decisions moving forward.
"It wasn't like 'how do you want us to spend your tax dollars more?' It's 'how do you want us to focus our attentions and efforts,’” Dr. Casey said, who said tax increases were not in the county’s plans moving forward.
Dr. Casey is not the only new county leader in Chesterfield this year. Dr. James Lane was pegged as the new school superintendent a few months ago.
The “Blueprint” survey found residents want school leaders to spend more money in classrooms and invest in ways that creates equal opportunity for students no matter what school they attend.
Respondents said they want to see less spending on administrative costs and a de-emphasis on standardized testing.
"We also agree that a test is just a snapshot, this is how the student did on one day. We certainly think you need to look at a student's growth over a long period of time,” said Chris Sorensen, assistant superintendent for business and finance with CCPS.
The survey found that 94 percent of respondents said they were “satisfied” with the county school system. Of those respondents, 58% wanted more money invested in schools.
The survey found that 66 percent were “satisfied” with the police and fire departments in Chesterfield County.
Still, the survey called on public safety leaders to focus less on petty crimes in favor of major investigations or high crime areas. Respondents also asked for more community responsibility moving forward.