Sometimes it’s challenging to be POSI+IVE

I appreciate the Paper’s editorial of Dec. 20 comparing and contrasting the Fulton and Montgomery counties’ respective economic development units’ efforts to secure state funding awards for the benefit of economic growth and betterment accruing of the adjoining counties.  It serves both communities well to contrast the effectiveness of their respective efforts as part and parcel of transparent governance.  However, I admit that I am surprised that Montgomery, the smaller county, far surpassed the best efforts of my own Fulton County. At the end of the day, someone needs to be the scorekeeper to keep things honest if not always POSI+IVE.  The watchful eye of the communities’ newspaper seems like a very good place to start.

I’ve often envied Montgomery County’s commercial successes developing along Route 30: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target’s Shopping Center, the Walmart Supercenter and others all situated in the town of Amsterdam.  I’m wondering if any of that success can be ascribed to the town’s very low NYS equalization rate (currently less than 10 percent *from the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services website) while the twin cities of Johnstown and Gloversville strive to achieve the “mandated” 100 percent equalization rate perhaps thwarting economic development in the bargain.

The contrasting local assessment ideologies give me pause to reconsider; not to mention the expense of the recent Johnstown citywide assessment revaluation and the city fathers’ recurring decisions to allow some property owners to bear the burden of fighting obviously punitive assessments, at least in my opinion, while other well-healed large commercial and industrial property owners are allowed to skate for millions in righteously assessed valuations presumably because it would be a tremendous financial burden for the city of Johnstown to defend its own professionally updated assessments in prolonged litigation to achieve equity for all parties.  Some of those tax certiorari actions are only now concluding nearly two years after the completion and implementation of the reval project; but I’ll reserve further comment on those matters to another time.

The “Fulton County NY POSI+IVE” marketing campaign is intended to be clean and progressive and hopefully productive.  Time will tell, but justifying the $46,000 cost of the Saratoga-based branding logo project seems like a big-lift to me, even with the $23,000 subsidy from National Grid. Of course, we know that we’re paying the entire $46,000 of these costs: state grants, National Grid and CRG payments because this is all a zero-sum game for the Fulton County taxpayers.

Thomas W. Suydam is a resident of Johnstown.

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