JOHNSTOWN - New Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Argotsinger said Thursday the county is poised to face many challenges in 2014, especially concerning economic development.
After being named chairman, he welcomed the board's new supervisors - Broadalbin Supervisor Thomas Christopher, Northampton Supervisor James Groff, Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young and Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene.
"You have, I won't say, a tough job ahead of you,' the Mayfield supervisor told his new colleagues. "But it will seem tough."
Mayfield Supervisor Richard Argotsinger, left, shakes the hand of Oppenheim Supervisor George Capek after Argotsinger received the gavel as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors during a meeting Thursday in Johnstown.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
New members of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, from left, Thomas Christopher, James Groff, Gregory Young and Warren Greene, are shown at a meeting Thursday in Johnstown.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Argotsinger, a 65-year-old farmer, was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to be county government's chairman for 2014. He was selected following a closed-door Republican caucus conducted during the board's annual organizational meeting at the County Office Building. The board chairman serves a one-year term at a salary of $9,880.
Oppenheim Supervisor George Capek was named board vice chairman for 2014.
Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan nominated Argotsinger as chairman, referring to him as a "unique individual" whose service to government came to him suddenly. Argotsinger has served as Mayfield supervisor since February 2009, when he was appointed to the job after then-Supervisor Alan "Herb" McLain died.
Argotsinger also was not the original choice as county chairman. The original choice to head the board in 2014 was 2013 board Vice Chairwoman Linda Kemper. But she lost her re-election bid in November to Groff.
"I learned this morning [Argotsinger] is probably the first person in many years to become [county] chairman without being vice chairman," Fagan said.
Fagan said Argotsinger has the ability to assess situations and recognize "when things don't work and make changes." He said one of Argotsinger's attributes is his "calm and low-key" demeanor.
"He is fully prepared to be chairman," said Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, who seconded Argotsinger's nomination.
Gendron said Argotsinger was a "valued member" of the Finance Committee and is a supervisor with perfect attendance at meetings.
Argotsinger thanked Johnstown 4th Ward Supervisor William Waldron, last year's board chairman; and Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery, Fagan, Gendron and Bleecker Supervisor David Howard.
"I think they put us in the position we're in today," Argotsinger said.
He noted county government currently has no debt. The board in November also adopted an $85.3 million 2014 county budget with an average property tax-rate decrease of 6.3 percent.
"I think 2014 is probably going to be a transition year for us," Argotsinger said. "Economic development is going to be the key."
Argotsinger mentioned several development initiatives such as: a planned branding exercise, Tryon property redevelopment, a proposed Thruway connector study and the SMART Waters plan to study the possible consolidation of water and sewer services in the county.
"To get these projects completed, it's going to take cooperation," Argotsinger said. "With that said, I hope we have a successful 2014."
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org