Thursday, August 03, 2017

From the Archives: Attracting and retaining businesses are the key to job growth, says Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd

Attracting and retaining businesses are the key to job growth, says Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd
August 3, 2010 9:56 PM MST

Controversy over Charlottesville’s use of taxpayer funds to lure a firm from Albemarle County into the city, as well as the Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s decision to leave Charlottesville after 70 years, have brought to the fore concerns about recruiting and retaining businesses in the area.

Albemarle County Supervisor Ken Boyd brought this issue up in a recent interview with the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, when he lamented that attracting new businesses is “something we want to do but we’re as anxious to keep the ones that we’ve got. We’ve been bleeding an awful lot of private sector jobs recently,” adding ruefully that “all our manufacturing jobs have just about left from the county.”

Lack of space
One problem Boyd highlighted was the lack of room for expansion, which was one of the reasons given for the Coke bottling plant’s move to a consolidated facility near Richmond. Albemarle County Virginia Supervisor Ken Boyd business commerce
Boyd pointed out that Albemarle has had “technology companies that have left the county because there’s not been a place for them to move to, they need to expand.”

Consequently, he said, county officials are “trying to take a very hard look at our land-use policies to make sure that there’s land available.”

He offered this illustration of the problem:

“I talked to a businessman the other day who moved his business to Greene [County]. The reason he did was because when he came” to Albemarle seeking a site for his company, “he was told to get through our bureaucratic process and it would probably be 18 months before we could approve a site for him. He went to Greene and he had his building up in six months.”

Boyd said the goal of economic development efforts is “to make sure there’s land available for somebody who is a plumber or an electrician or a carpenter, [so] that they have a place to thrive and grow their business here. We see them moving to other communities” even though “the work they do is here.” The problem, he said, is that “it’s too expensive to go through the process and get established in their business.”

Economic Vitality Action Plan
To address these issues, Albemarle County officials are now “in the process of talking about an Economic Vitality Plan,” Boyd said. “We’re trying to look at how an overburdening regulations impact our business community. We’re trying to figure out how we can stimulate private sector jobs.”

While the University of Virginia is an engine for job creation, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), “these are all state and federal jobs,” Boyd said, and “we certainly want to grow the private sector, to make [it] an important part of the jobs we have available here.”

The Economic Vitality Action Plan that has been under discussion by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will be voted on at the board’s meeting on August 11.

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on August 3, 2010. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

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