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Votes

Business Matters

New Name, Two Bills

Say goodbye to the Alexandria Sanitation Authority. Say hello to Alexandria Renew Enterprises, and get ready to pay two bills instead of one.

The authority, which cleans wastewater for 350,000 city residents, began operation in 1956, with an initial goal to “afford a nuisance-free effluent discharge” into Hunting Creek and the Potomac River. Since that time, the authority's mission has broadened to reflect greater public concerns about the environment and energy use. Authority leaders launched the new name and logo on Earth Day as to signify an expanded mandate to renew natural resources and make them available to the greater market.

“Alexandria Renew Enterprises will take us down a new and exciting path to greater sustainability - real-world, environmentally friendly products available to businesses and the public that will help reduce the demand for the costly energy, fresh water, and the chemicals we use in our crop fields and gardens,” said Alexandria Renew executive officer Karen Pallansch.

Currently, city residents receive one bill from Virginia American Water that covers the supply of new water and the treatment of wastewater. Beginning in October, residents will start receiving two bills, one from Virginia American Water that covers the cost of clean water and another from Alexandria Renew Enterprises that covers the cost of treating wastewater.

“Each year, Alexandria Renew Enterprises restarts its commitment to protect the environment and our fragile ecosystems with the same passion it gave to honor the community and people served every day since the first Earth Day more than 20 years ago,” said board chairman Thomas Van Wagner. “That is what ASA is about today and what Alexandria Renew Enterprises will deliver in the future.”

Ideal Reduction

For the last two years, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership has been celebrating the “Alexandria Ideal,” a marketing campaign aimed at prospective business audiences. Now City Manager Rashad Young is proposing reducing the budget for the campaign by $83,000, decreasing the amount of industry-specific advertising conducted by the partnership.

Young says the organization can increase personal outreach with brokers, developers, owners and potential tenants to offset the reduction. But leaders in the partnership are fighting for their slice of the pie. In a memorandum to city officials, partnership president Val Hawkins says the proposed $83,000 cut to marketing and advertising efforts would “compromise momentum gained over previous years in promoting regulatory and structural changes at City Hall that have made Alexandria ideal for business.”

“Alexandria's regional competition continues to advertise and promote their respective jurisdictions, so lack of funding may negatively impact our competitive position,” Hawkins wrote. “Restoration of the $83,368, which represents 40 percent of the entire AEDP marketing budget, would restore current levels of investment and allow for ongoing marketing and advertising.”

Recovery Will Be Televised

Fresh on the heels of new economic reports showing Virginia's unemployment rate has plunged 23 percent since January 2010, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's Opportunity Virginia political action committee is launching a new television advertisement. The commercial, which is set to air in the coming weeks, features several businesses that have created jobs during Virginia's economic recovery.

“Virginia is growing strong again,” said McDonnell in a written statement announcing the advertising campaign. “This ad highlights some of the men and women driving this recovery, while noting all that has been accomplished over the past two years.”

Only one Northern Virginia business is featured in the commercial, Vienna-based MicroTech. Company vice president Marisa Andrews is one of eight people featured in the commercial.