Outgoing county chair says farewell

Outgoing Fulton Cointy Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Kinowski gives his final 2017 speech to the board Thursday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Outgoing Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Kinowski on Thursday accentuated the positive in his farewell address to his colleagues.

Presiding over his last public meeting of the year at the County Office Building, the Johnstown 2nd Ward supervisor illustrated county initiatives completed during 2017.

“Thank you very much for the year,” Kinowski stated. “I appreciate it.”

He capsulized major Fulton County government initiatives started and done this year.

Kinowski told the board the county was able to get property taxes down to a “manageable level” for 2017.

He said that the hard work put in this year will “increase our tax base in the future.”

“We’re able to reduce our tax rate,” Kinowski said. “With that, I’d like to review these items because a lot was done.”

The board chairman broke the initiatives list into four categories: financial management, economic growth, community safety, and other.

In the area of financial management, Kinowski noted the county produced revenue pots in 2017. They included enacting a hotel/motel occupancy tax in the county. The county also completed negotiation of agreements for private solar energy projects in the towns of Johnstown and Broadalbin.

With government infrastructure, the county completed a roof job and did door security upgrades at the County Office Building. The county also completed a renovation project at the historic Fort Johnstown Annex.

Kinowski listed energy conservation tackled by the county this year. Those initiatives included adopting a policy to promote energy efficiency in county buildings, and implementation of an energy home loan program for businesses. Intermunicipal cooperation in 2017 included completion of a countywide shared services plan.

Other financial management accomplishments included negotiating a new contract for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Employees Alliance union, converting to a single-stream recycling program, and extending a Cold War veterans exemption.

Kinowski noted economic growth occurred in the county in 2017, such as completing concept design plans for three primary development areas. The county created county Water District No. 2 for Hales Mills Road Extension, and completed the Hales Mills waterline construction project. The county obtained several state grants, including one for a 10-year vision strategy. Projects were developed in Vail Mills and Meco.

In the area of business development, the county helped conduct a successful Site Selectors Guild Symposium. Completed in 2017 was a Micro-Enterprise Grant Program for small business investment. Marketing efforts included completion of a hotel/motel market feasibility study. Kinowski noted the county’s video showcase series completed this year.

Community safety efforts this year included finishing the county’s interoperable radio communications upgrade project. The county expanded its license plate reader project, and implemented new software to integrate crime analysis between the county and the Glove Cities.

Other initiatives pointed out by Kinowski included ones at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and the County Airport. They included completing FMCC Student Union renovations and a technology upgrades project. The county completed a draft update to the airport master plan.

“It has been an ambitious year and we’re looking forward to another ambitious year in 2018,” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

Stead presented Kinowski with a ceremonial gavel gift, adding: “I think Mike certainly has been attentive to us.”

He said Kinowski used attention to detail and the “important things” to accomplish his county goals.

“It was just done as a professional approach, a businesslike approach,” Stead said.

Kinowski received a standing ovation from the rest of the board following his remarks.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.