County’s economic indicators improving
A number of key economic indicators are pointing in the right direction for Henrico County, and county officials are in a cautiously optimistic mood.
Among the most promising numbers: Henrico’s sales tax revenues were up 7.3 percent in April as compared to the same month last year.
“With this [recent] economic difficulty, consumers kind of batten down the hatches, and then at some point they decide enough is enough,” Henrico Finance Director John Vithoulkas said. “Residents got very cautious and now are starting to breathe and live their lives again.”
Each month since last fall, Henrico’s sales tax receipts have been 5 to 10 percent higher than during the same month one year earlier, Vithoulkas said. Henrico also experienced its highest December sales tax revenue in its history last year – an indication “that Henrico is becoming even more attractive to the regional resident,” Vithoulkas said.
Confirmation of that point is evident in the county’s per-capita sales during 2010, which were more than $15,369. Henrico, the sixth-largest locality in Virginia, also ranked second in the state in total sales last year, trailing only Fairfax County, the largest locality.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign to Vithoulkas and other county officials is the influx of new jobs to the county. Between last October and this February, 1,734 new jobs were announced or filled within the 21-locality Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); 1,325 of them were in Henrico County.
“Seeing this type of turnaround on jobs, both in number and in quality, is extremely positive,” Vithoulkas said.
Other positive signs for the county:
• new vehicle sales were up 8.2 percent during Fiscal Year 2010-11, through January, and used vehicle sales were up 3.6 percent;
• commercial real estate vacancy rates improved in six of seven major commercial corridors from 2009 to 2010, with the seventh (Parham East) only slipping slightly, from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.
Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.
Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.
The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.
“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.
The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.
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