Friday, February 10, 2017

MoCo out of the game again as 150 manufacturing jobs leave MD for VA

Put another mark in the "loss" column for moribund Montgomery County. idX Corporation, an international firm that manufactures custom retail store displays for everything from mom-and-pops to big box stores, was seeking a new home for its Columbia, MD factory. The Montgomery County Council never expressed any public interest in wooing idX. Virginia did.

150 skilled manufacturing jobs are now going to leapfrog Montgomery County, and land at a shuttered General Motors plant in Fredericksburg. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe approved a $400,000 grant, and idX will invest $7.2 million. McAuliffe took a victory lap on Tuesday, celebrating as "we welcome another impressive international manufacturing company to our corporate roster.”

Rubbing extra salt in the wound, is that the factory is located next door to a hip craft brewery, ritzy Fredericksburg Country Club, and a vibrant residential neighborhood. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett laments that we are becoming a "bedroom community," forcing our residents to commute to job centers elsewhere. At the same moment, Spotsylvania County Administrator Mark B. Taylor is praising the arrival of "150 skilled jobs. Good local jobs like these are opportunities for some of our talented Spotsylvania workforce to reduce their commutes – and that’s good for their families, and good for our community.” 

Ouch.

Just to dwell on the complete humiliation of our impotent Montgomery County Council for a moment longer, think about what a bomb Councilmember Hans Riemer's failed "nighttime economy" initiative was, with 9 night clubs shuttering after just a few years of his "leadership." One of the only two 24-hour restaurants closed, and businesses cut back late-night hours. Attempts to attract a craft brewery to downtown Bethesda stalled, and Riemer and his political-operative-turned-$150K-County-employee ran 96% of food trucks out of the county or out-of-business altogether.
New neighbors - 150 skilled
jobs are moving from MD to
11032 Tidewater Trail, which is
next to a hip craft brewery
Now look next door to this Fredericksburg factory, at what Maltese Brewing Company is doing there. Their brewery and beer garden are open to the public, and there are events like comedy shows, Ugly Sweater Christmas parties and breakfasts. And...a regular roster of food trucks. Yesterday, you could have been enjoying their new Coffee Brown and English IPA on a warm afternoon in the beer garden. You can be sure idX employees will appreciate this nearby amenity, as skilled workers pump spending money into local businesses.

The Council could have come up with a bold vision for the future of the River Road industrial area during the rewrite of the Westbard sector plan, to maximize corporate office space, research facilities and skilled manufacturing for aerospace and tech firms. They didn't, instead voting unanimously for a series of boxes filled with over 3000 new residents, whose cars will hit River Road each morning to reach their jobs elsewhere.

In addition to a superior business climate, with lower taxes and fewer regulations, the Spotsylvania County site is also located near major highways, including I-95. The seller touted "excellent interstate highway connectivity in all directions." Meanwhile, the Montgomery County Council defiantly refuses to finish our master plan highway system, and is trying to reduce speed limits to jam traffic even more.

The 77.10 acre Frederickburg site also has its own rail spur that connects to the CSX railroad for shipping purposes. This is something we could offer to private space and aerospace manufacturers at the current Montgomery County Fairgrounds site, but you can bet our current elected officials will try to make that land residential instead when it is sold in the future. In fact, the only use the Council has made of land along the CSX mainline to Chicago so far is a plant that turns trash into energy. Which was on fire for about a month recently, as I recall. Nice. But, hey, pretty appropriate when you have a County Council that's the equivalent of a dumpster fire.

Montgomery County was the only DC-area jurisdiction to suffer a net loss of private sector jobs since 2000, including the loss of over 2000 retail jobs. While our elected officials continue a super-low-energy style of "leadership," lurching from one reactionary and tardy response to failure (like our 911 system and Flower Branch apartments explosion, government failures that directly caused 9 of their constitutents to die) to another, jurisdictions around us are moving forward.

“Spotsylvania County is an ideal location for a growing business, which idX’s decision reaffirms,” VA Senator Ryan T. McDougle said Tuesday. Why isn't Montgomery County? Throw the bums out.

8 comments:

  1. Hey right wing whackjob, still hurting from your failed bid to run for the council in 2014? Pretty laughable. Jealous much? By the way, anyone ever tell you that you have the personality of a potted plant? Better luck next time. Not.

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    1. 9:14: Nobody's jealous of this Montgomery County Council. That's why term limits were passed overwhelmingly.

      Is attracting jobs to the County a "right wing" position? Any sensible politician would look forward to running against your candidates who would run on a platform opposing jobs.

      Hell of a position to take! "No jobs! No jobs!" Wow.

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  2. Trying to compare Montgomery County to Spottsylvania County is laughable at best. If that's the best they can do, and pass over Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford on the way, then I don't think MoCo was ever even on their radar. You seem to love VA so much, so why don't you live there?

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    1. Gull, they were in Howard County to start with. More like Montgomery than Spotsylvania.

      My position is, I want jobs. If your position is, "I don't want jobs," I'm pretty confident I will win that debate in the public arena.

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  3. Bob, Run again for County Council. I'll vote for you!

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    1. 2:58: I appreciate your support, thank you!

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  4. Mr. Dyer,

    What would be your solution to this? less govt oversight? That would more or less mean that some jobs would have to be eliminated right? I can agree that Montgomery County government is bloated and could use some deflation but losing jobs to gain jobs is not a plus. I am probably being over simplistic but I am interested in what specifically you think should be done.

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    1. Ed, we need to build a new Potomac River crossing to give us direct access to Dulles Airport, reduce our taxes and regulations, and get a County Council that is actually familiar with how international corporations do business in 2017.

      We also need to complete our master plan highway system, including the M-83 Highway upcounty, the Rockville Freeway, the Northern Parkway, and the Damascus Bypass. We should also upgrade Beach Drive, and widen East-West Highway.

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