JOHNSTOWN - Outgoing Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman William Waldron presided over his last meeting Monday, thanking his colleagues and indicating the county took great economic strides in 2013.
"This year, I want to thank all the supervisors for all the support they've given," Waldron said at the County Office Building.
He called 2013 a "wonderful year" for county government.
Waldron, a Republican Johnstown 4th Ward supervisor and IBM retiree, also thanked the chairmen of the board's individual committees for "doing their jobs" and presenting a "phenomenal" 2014 county budget.
The board recently adopted that $85.3 million spending plan that includes an average property tax-rate decrease of 6.3 percent across the county.
Waldron said that during 2013, the board worked extremely hard, especially on a few projects that are "absolutely necessary" to continue in 2014. He said the first one was the "SMART Waters" plan.
The board on July 8 hired Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park for $50,000 to design a system to possibly consolidate all water and sewer services within the county. That firm is gathering information to design a model for the system. Many county officials say a countywide system - dubbed the SMART Waters project - would spur the local economy, creating more business and lowering property taxes.
Waldron said the project is in its final stages and he has seen some of the preliminary findings.
"It's quite an informative document," he said.
Second, he noted the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency may soon secure a state deed for the Tryon property. The IDA is trying to redevelop the former Tryon Youth Detention Facility in the towns of Perth and Johnstown into a proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.
"I believe the county should do everything in its power to encourage economic development," Waldron said.
County Administrative Officer Jon Stead presented Waldron with a ceremonial gavel as a gift. He said Waldron was a conscientious county leader, attending all meetings and taking a keen interest in economic development.
"I really had the impression from day one Bill wanted to get to speed on every topic," Stead said.
He said Waldron worked hard to be a "practicing chairman," adding Waldron will be honored further at the board's annual Christmas Party on Friday.
"I think you've done an excellent job," Stead stated.
Waldron also thanked "departing" supervisors who either didn't seek re-election or were defeated.
They are: Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo, Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper, Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Ponticello and Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Richard Ottalagano.
"I'm sorry you're not all coming back," Waldron said. "I hope your replacements do as good a job as you performed on the board."
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.