PERTH - In a presentation at the Perthshire on Friday morning, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth board Chairman Dustin Swanger said county, town and city representatives have to start working together to increase business opportunities in the area.
Swanger told those in attendance, including Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, that in discussions with representatives in Albany and business officials directed to the county from Saratoga, he found that officials are overlooking Fulton County because they believe it is "a waste of time" to attempt any business venture in the region.
"We can't get the municipalities to figure it out," Swanger said. "We can't let that happen. We have to get the municipalities together so we can get [businesses] to a shovel-ready site ... the cities continue to be the social centers of our community, but we have to work together."
King agreed with Swanger's presentation and belief that the municipalities need to work together to increase businesses in the area, but he said at the same time it costs $15 million to run Gloversville. And it's the same problem for Johnstown.
He explained that the way the sales tax revenue sharing is set up, in an agreement with the town of Johnstown, Gloversville only gets a small portion of that money.
King said the money is constantly divided between the town and city, also giving shares to Fulton County which then splits the money among all the towns and villages within its boundaries. Of the 8 percent sales tax rate, the state gets half of the revenue, the county where the business is gets a quarter - two percentage points - and the city gets the other two percentage points.
If the business is in the town of Johnstown, the town gets 17 percent of the 2 percent. And if there is an agreement between a city and the town, the city gets 60 percent of that 17 percent, and King said that isn't enough.
"I'd be willing to look into any legislation that would share that revenue [of annexed property]," King said. "If there's a way, and right now there's not - it's illegal - I'd be willing to look into reverse-sharing that revenue. So we annex land from the town of Johnstown, and then we can go ahead and share that revenue - sales tax revenue and potentially property tax revenue.
"I think that's they way it has to be. I think we have to reverse share that just with the Town of Johnstown, not with the whole county."
King said the best thing would be to have one governing body over the entire county rather than the 17 municipalities that currently exist.
"My election is next year, and I can and will run for re-election. And my campaign will be, 'I hope I am the last mayor of Gloversville, because then we would have one county executive,'" he said. "We've got seven council members looking over our city. There's six supervisors at the county level. It is redundant."
Despite these problems, Swanger said, he still wants people to realize that the county can grow.
"You've got to focus on tomorrow and let go of today," he said. "I really think there is a bright future for this region. Speak out for growth, because we have a lot to offer here."