JOHNSTOWN - New Mayor Michael Julius was sworn in to office Wednesday and immediately set goals for his administration for 2014.
The 64-year-old Democratic retired pharmacist placed his hand on the Bible and was sworn in by acting City Court Judge Frederick Stortecky at City Hall. Julius will serve a four-year term and be paid more than $18,000 annually as part-time mayor, succeeding two-term former Mayor Sarah Slingerland. At his side was his wife, Catherine.
Many of Julius' family members, Democratic Party well-wishers, and family members of council members were on hand to witness the swearing- in during the council's organizational meeting. Also sworn in were city Treasurer Michael Gifford, as well as these new council members: Councilman-at-Large Chris Swatt, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti and 4th Ward Councilman Edwin Queeney III.
New Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius, left, takes the oath from acting Johnstown City Court Judge Frederick Stortecky Wednesday. At right is Julius’ wife, Catherine.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
In his State of the City address to the council, Julius thanked those in attendance and offered his agenda.
"I am pleased to report that the city of Johnstown is fiscally sound," the new mayor said. "However, for some of our citizens, what matters has not changed. They are faced with economic anxiety, afraid of losing their jobs and their economic security. I am firmly convinced that the decisions we make on the issues before us will determine our economic future and
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whether or not our children will choose Johnstown as the place to work and to raise their families."
"We are currently at a crossroads," Julius said. "Do we take the path of least resistance or do we take a bold, innovative path? Judging from the current makeup of our council, I trust that the right decision will be made."
Julius mentioned four main goals for this year, including to "refocus the direction" of the local economy. Specifically, he mentioned advanced manufacturing jobs and how to get them to this area.
"In other words, we need to attract small to midsize companies involved in the supply chain to GlobalFoundries in Malta and the upcoming facility in Utica," he said. "By succeeding in attracting this type of industry to the area, we will be able to expand our tax base and lower our property taxes, giving much-needed relief to our citizens."
Second, Julius said the neighborhoods of the Colonial City need to be improved.
"New families moving to Johnstown will need quality housing," he said. "We must reform our current building codes so that our code enforcers will be able to do their job more effectively and fairly."
As a third goal, the mayor said the city needs to "gear up for the future" by working with area educational institutions, including Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He mentioned FMCC's Clean Room technology programs, noting such job-training programs can be a "valuable draw" for high-tech jobs.
Julius' fourth goal is to find funding to bring back Gloversville Transit System runs to Johnstown that ceased a few years ago. He called such an initiative a "positive step toward improving the quality of life of this community."
"Public transportation will allow our citizens easier access to the public library, the community center, the senior center, the YMCA and local shopping," Julius said.
The mayor concluded his address by giving "special thanks' to his wife and others in the political arena.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.