Arlington's Economic Development Office (AED) also made a presentation at yesterday's Arlington County Board - County Manager FY 2015 Budget Work Session.
The Arlington Economic Development Office is a $10 million per year County agency which promotes business development, real estate development, travel and tourism, and cultural affairs. In FY 2015 AED's budget will increase by 8 percent to $10.9 million and AED will add two full-time employees, bringing the total to 63.57. AED occupies a luxury office suite on Glebe Road in Ballston.
So what are Arlington's taxpayers getting for $10.9 million next fiscal year? According to statements by AED's staff during yesterday's work sessions we are getting an expensive bureaucracy that's saddled with arts organizations in constant need, stagnant travel and tourism, increasingly unhappy non-profits and for-profits (to the point where the County Manager recently appointed a Business Ombudswoman), and increasing citizen resistance to AED's long time Smart Growth redevelopment agenda.
Consequently AED is looking to attract corporations and non-profits from areas like Silicon Valley and around the D,C. Beltway where the cost of living and doing business are comparable to Arlington's. AED is partnering with Arlington's Department of Technology Services (DTS) to install an extra-high capacity "Connect Arlington' LAN around Arlington which the County will own and operate.
One AED initiative, begun by recently-deceased AED Director Terry Holzheimer, is to try to bring CIA and NSA activities and CIA and NSA contractors to Arlington by offering access to vast amounts of surveillance data (including HD video images) obtained from a compliant resident population (tens of thousands of Arlington residents work for national security organizations and contractors). NSA and the CIA would use Arlington to model a future National Security State, assuming silo and stovepipe problems can be resolved.
In the meantime, Arlington's 'growth industries' are new and used vehicle sales, bars, restaurants, and upscale retail.