Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff spoke to more than 600 business and community leaders and elected officials from Hampton Roads at the Chamber’s Chesapeake State of the City luncheon on February 23 at the Chesapeake Conference Center.
The mayor’s tone was positive and sure. “Though no one has a crystal ball, it appears we have weathered the worst in terms of economic uncertainty and are emerging as a stronger and more energized Chesapeake…a Chesapeake that is sound,” declared the mayor.
The mayor remarked on the numerous recognitions the city has received in the past year, including being ranked one of the country’s top 10 cities by the Center for Digital Government, listed as one the top 100 best places to live and raise a family by Parenting Magazine and was ranked 21 of “America’s Best Cities” by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Mayor Krasnoff addressed the city’s economic position. “In 2011, business investment in the city was up 14% and over 800 new jobs were created,” he said. “This marks the fourth straight year of economic growth in Chesapeake.” Envivia, a manufacturer of wood pellets and other processed biomass products, invested over $16 million to create a port terminal. Businesses such as ACS, Raytheon and US Auto Parts, renewed their leases and kept 1,872 jobs in Chesapeake. He also mentioned that the city issued 699 new business licenses in 2011.
The mayor explained that on August 16, in order to create new opportunities and relieve a tax burden, Chesapeake adopted a Business, Professional and Occupation License (BPOL) Tax exemption ordinance that eliminates a gross receipts tax for many new companies for the first two years that they are in business. Quoting the Virginia Federation, Krasnoff said, “BPOL relief should aid economic development in the city and the region, and especially during these stringent economic times.”
The mayor discussed the South Norfolk-Jordan Bridge and the impact it has on the city. Krasnoff mentioned that almost 250 jobs were created from the construction of the bridge. “Chesapeake’s investment in the new South Norfolk-Jordan Bridge amounted to nothing, while private investors demonstrated their confidence in Chesapeake’s future to the tune of $140 million,” he said. The new bridge will open to traffic in June 2012.
Krasnoff also discussed the construction that will begin on Dominion Boulevard. He said Chesapeake was awarded a low interest, $152 million loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which was the first loan from the bank. “All told, we’ve been able to put together $261 million in funding, but I’m not about to let up until we’ve squeezed every last nickel out of every resource we can think of,” declared the mayor.
Mayor Krasnoff closed by saying, “My Chesapeake – our Chesapeake – is sound, and this is our breakthrough time. This is our time to imagine.”
The Chamber's State of the City Series has become the preferred forum for elected officials and mayors to communicate with their constituents and are often sold out events. The State of the City addresses are annual updates of each city's progress over the past year and agenda for the year to come. Each address is held in the featured city and is given by the mayor of that city. This event is a forum for interaction among leaders in attendance.
Remaining schedule for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce State of the City Series (all luncheons begin at 12pm):
Virginia Beach: Wednesday, March 14, Virginia Beach Convention Center
Portsmouth: Wednesday, April 4, Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center
Suffolk: Tuesday, May 8, Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center
For reservations, visit Events.HamptonRoadsChamber.com or call 757-622-2312. Thanks to Series Sponsors: TowneBank (Presenting); Bon Secours Virginia Health Systems (Platinum); Cox Communications (Media); Farm Fresh Inc. and Optima Health (Silver).