Fairfax County has bought a high-powered scheme to attract new business and industry by marketing the county's suburban character as a bedroom community of the nation's capital as "a good place to live and work."
The County Board of Supervisors Monday authorized $88,600 as a first installment of an agressive $430,000 marketing and public relations campaign that the county's Economic Development Authority plans to conduct during fiscal year 1979, which begins July 1.
The campaign is intended to start the county toward a long-range goal of having 25 percent of the county's tax base made up of commercial and industrial development by the year 2000. Business now pays about 14 percent of county taxes.
"This doesn't mean we're going to come up with some cute little jingle to throw around," said Fairfax Board Chairman John F. Herrity after the authority first made its pitch for the extra funds to supplement its $275,000 annual budget two weeks ago. "This is a serious long-range plan for commercial growth that we should have started a long time ago."
In the last year, the county has attracted several major businesses, among them Mobil Oil and American Telephone & Telegraph. According to authority director David Edwards, Fairfax would have to attract 36 similar companies a year to meet the goal of business contributing 25 percent of the tax base.
The marketing program aims at targeting major business by advertising in specialized business publications and making personal contacts.
The authority will begin immediately to update and develop new information brochures on the county, lay out an advertising theme, conduct market research efforts to "find out who doesn't know Fairfax County exists" and survey local business "to find out if they're satisfied in Fairfax County," according to Edwards.
One of the problems facing commercial growth in the country is where to put it. Deputy County Executive Samuel Finz said Fairfax "would have to start thinking seriously" about making industrially zoned land in the county more accessible to accommodate the growth envisioned by the authority. He was referring specifically to 2000 acres south of Dulles Airport viewed as a major future site for commercial enterprise.
The authority hopes that its continuing marketing initiative will produce $44.3 billion of assessed business value in the country by year 2000, a goal that the county's Office of Budget and Management views as somewhat unrealistic.
The OMB, is rechecking the authority's projections, found that the current assessed value of commercial and industrial property in Manhattan last year was $10 billion, or $34 billion less than what the authority projects for Fairfax in 2000.
In other action this week, the Board of Supervisors lambasted state legislators in Richmond for in the words of Supervisor Alan H. Magazine (D-Mason), "lording over individual local government."
The board was particularly angry about a 70-to-26 vote in the House of Delegates striking down the county's bottle ordinance which babs soft-drink cans with disposable pop tops and requires merchants to pay a refund of a least 5 cents on each used container returned to them.
The Virginia Senate is expectedd to vote on striking down the ordinance within the new week, and the board moved to send mailgrams to area senators in support of the ordinance.
The board also moved to opposed other bills before the General Assembly that it felt infringe on local government, including one to mandate state grievance procedure for all law enforcement officers, a bill to conduct a state study of the Fairfax County Water Authority and a bill to require local planning commissions to hold public hearings before building subsidized housing.
In other action, the board endorsed a 7 percent fare increase for Metrobus and Metrorail, an increase previously determined by Metro to meet an area-wide operating cost of $83.7 million in fiscal year 1979.
The board moved to pay Fairfax County's share for Metrobus operation in fiscal year 1979, which $7.59 million. This compares to an estimated $6.8 million the county will pay for Metrobus service in fiscal year 1978.
To simplify what Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) called the "most complicated (bus) fare structure in the country," the board directed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to reduce zone charges from four to two for Virginia bus riders going into Washington.
The simplification, according to Alexander, would enable a daily bus rider to save about $4 a month, paying zone charges only at the Fairfax County border and at the Potomac River.
The board also approved Metro's planned extension of rail service in September to 11 p.m. on weekdays and for 14 hours on Saturdays. In approving the plan, the board asked for a ridership study to be made six months after the extended hours go into effect.