Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) took five overseas trips on county business in 2012, but the cost to the taxpayers was relatively minimal, according to information provided by York.
Following an inquiry by the Times-Mirror into the expenses related to the ventures, York’s office said the total cost to the county for the five trips came to approximately $5,800.
York took two trips to Taiwan, two to Germany and one to England in 2012. Altogether, the trips spanned around 41 days.
York’s first trip to Taiwan in early May cost the county $1,950 – that being just for airfare. The remaining expenses were paid for by the government of Taiwan, as were all expenses for the second trip to Taiwan, from Oct. 6-14.
York’s first trip to Germany in April was paid for with funds left over from his campaign and money from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC). No county tax dollars were used for that trip, according to the chairman’s office. His second trip to Germany was also paid for by NVRC.
NVRC is a regional council comprised of 14 local governments in Northern Virginia. It’s supported by contributions from member governments, appropriations of the Virginia General Assembly, and a variety of grants, contracts and fees from both governmental and private sector sources, according to its website.
York’s trip to England was the most expensive, with $2,600 spent out of the county’s economic development budget and $270 from York’s county budget.
York justified the trips as important steps in introducing Loudoun County to companies across the world.
There are a number of advantages to international partnerships, he said. Specifically, York said a company in Germany will be locating at least a portion of its operations in Loudoun County in the near future.
While he wouldn’t name of the company, he said it was in the pharmaceutical industry.
Essentially, the trips are about marketing the county to prospective employers and creating a robust local economy, York noted.
One noteworthy takeaway from the 2012 trips, York said, is that he encountered and learned about “in-house power sub-stations” for data centers. With the expanding data center industry in Loudoun – a corridor in Ashburn has taken the moniker “Data Center Alley” – this is something the county could be looking into.
Loudoun County had more than 7 million square feet of data center space at the conclusion of 2012.
Some of the power stations for data centers in Loudoun can be unsightly, prompting a potentially “interesting conversation” about constructing the “in-house” model, York said. He did note those stations are “more costly.”
Buddy Rizer, assistant director for Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development, accompanied York on at least one of the trips.
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