“Great communities are not accidents,” said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas during his annual State of the County address on January 23, 2017. “Henrico’s success journey began decades ago.”
Henrico’s long history has been positively shaped by decisions made by voters and government officials. Referendums approved by the public have provided opportunities to expand Henrico’s infrastructure, align budgets with voter expectations and improve the quality of life for the county’s citizens and employees.
In his address, Vithoulkas reported that annual visitor spending remains high at $852 million, Henrico’s business economy is well diversified, and work is continuing in efforts to develop and revitalize all areas of the county. The county has remained fiscally strong, maintaining its AAA bond rating and, for the 35th consecutive year, receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. These accomplishments have led to Henrico’s continued success in recruiting new businesses to the county.
Economic Development Remains Robust
“The Board of Supervisors’ approval of reducing certain tax rates throughout the past couple budget cycles has been completely intentional and incredibly advantageous for economic development,” said Vithoulkas. Henrico has the lowest effective Machinery and Tools (M&T) tax rate in Central Virginia – the lowest effective rate of any county in Virginia with a population of at least 100,000.
Henrico ranks third in the state for business announcements and second in the number of new and retained jobs. Fourteen major economic development announcements were reported in Henrico for 2016, and those developments translated to more than 1,545 jobs and investments totaling over $146 million. International businesses took the spotlight, as Fareva Group, CDA-USA and Polykon Manufacturing all chose to expand or locate in Henrico in 2016.
Henrico continues to be an excellent place for companies to quickly grow, as evidenced by the fact that, once again, most of businesses representing the greater Richmond region on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies hail from Henrico County. Of the 28 Richmond-area firms that made it onto the 2016 list, 16 are located in Henrico.
Focused on the Future
What should Henrico businesses and residents look forward to in the future? More of the same! Fiscal responsibility, infrastructure improvements and continued economic development are the main focus points for the county.
Two development projects are especially noteworthy for the county: a North Gayton I-64 Interchange (currently under study) and Greenwood Park – slated to become the region’s destination sports complex once completed.
Other exciting developments include continued construction on Cobbs Creek Reservoir and programs to address jobs and education. Vithoulkas reported that Henrico is positioning itself to continue to develop its labor force participants, shrink skills gaps and align economic development through the Achievable Dream program, Center for Technical Education courses and two new tech centers funded by the 2016 bond referendum.