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Group could find solution

August 21, 2012
The Leader Herald

In December 2010, when leaders from the city of Gloversville and town of Johnstown signed the long-awaited landmark revenue-sharing agreement, many hoped it would usher in an era of cooperation and foster responsible development to grow the region.

Officials called the event "historic" after years of working toward the "cooperative development agreement" that required special legislation in the state Legislature.

We don't recall anyone speaking out back then against the agreement that splits - 60/40 in Gloversville's favor - sales and property tax revenue of development in the town that requires city water and sewer hookups.

Then, last summer, a residential property owner in the town needed water hookups for their home, and their move into their new residence was delayed as city officials were unsure at the time whether the agreement's language implied that it applied both to residential and commercial development.

Ultimately they decided it did, and the family moved into their home.

We were glad back then officials took the time to study the issue, but we wondered why something that simple wasn't spelled out in the agreement.

Then, in March, with the upcoming expiration of a 40-year-old agreement between Gloversville and the owners of Arterial Plaza, which provided the plaza, located in the town of Johnstown, with water and sewer service, we figured the cooperative development agreement would apply.

But instead of following that agreement, Mayor Dayton King advocated for annexation of the property into Gloversville and then sharing the sales and property tax. This would provide a greater pot of money to share, if the two municipalities were to stick to the arrangement. The city receives a greater percentage of sales tax, and the property tax is much higher.

We think King has a valid point, but we wish he raised it before December 2010 when he signed the cooperative-development agreement.

This was a big disappointment to many who thought the agreement would end annexation squabbles. We thought perhaps the municipalities would welcome future development and treat current businesses with respect.

But, the air of hostility between the municipalities continues as city leaders see borders instead of dollars and potential jobs. This applies to both the Glove Cities

We have watched elected officials battle over land and utility services for decades. Now we're wondering if a panel of independent professionals could be useful in finding an ultimate solution to this ongoing bickering.

If there was a group of professionals willing to voluntarily study the issue and rid the current document of loopholes and vague clauses, perhaps they could arrive at a solution faster than our elected leaders who are consumed with daily governance.



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