GLOVERSVILLE - Local officials are in talks to prevent future disagreements over development between the town of Johnstown and its neighboring cities.
Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean and Town Board members have been talking with Gloversville Mayor Dayton King and Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland to establish a plan for sharing sales-tax revenue from all future developments near the town-city borders where water and sewer services are to be extended. The three municipalities have had several bitter disputes over such projects in recent years, and leaders want to put those problems behind them with a mutually beneficial plan.
"We're talking. That's a great thing," MacVean said. "In the past, they just annexed things, and we didn't get much of anything. But now they're talking to me, and we're negotiating a little. We have to figure out how everybody can benefit from these annexations, or we'll just have to fight them all."
At a July 27 speech, Dustin Swanger, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth board chairman, told the audience that businesses avoid coming to the town and cities because they believe it is a "waste of time." Swanger urged the three municipalities to work together, and the three municipalities have responded.
In addition to the talks, they have also spoken to officials from the town and city of Amsterdam who have had such an agreement in place for the past three years. The agreement between those two municipalities states that once the businesses on Route 30 in the town generate $1.3 million in sales tax, the city gets 20 percent of the revenue, with the town keeping 80 percent, said Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza.
Town and city officials are looking for a similar agreement, because the way the individual agreements are set up now, the cities only get a fraction of a percent of the revenue.
King said talks have been going well between the Johnstown and Gloversville leaders, and he is optimistic an agreement will be reached.
"We had a great conversation last time the three municipalities met, and at this point, I think we're just trying to get everybody on board ... I think if we get a plan that all three entities agree to, we just want to make sure the state will allow it. It seems like we will be able to make it work."
Swanger was pleased to know that the three boards are trying to work out an agreement.
"The municipalities trying to get together and work on an agreement while the pressure is off is only going to help the region, so when a company is looking to come into the area, they're not waiting on the municipalities to figure it out," Swanger said. "If they do it now, I think that's a step in the right direction."
Slingerland said the talks have focused on how local governments can cooperate to help foster business growth.
No specific terms of any proposed guidelines have been agreed upon, however.
Reporter John Borgolini can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.