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Status of Fulton County’s annual ‘State of the County’ address remains in limbo

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich Futon County Administrative Officer Jon Stead gives his 28th annual "State of the County" address Friday morning at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.

JOHNSTOWN — The annual Fulton County government “State of the County” address — after nearly 30 years — could be delivered non-traditionally this year due to COVID-19.

The pandemic is hampering the ability to get large groups together, and the county address — for many years delivered by County Administrative Officer Jon Stead — could be a casualty.

“We are kind of in a holding pattern on that,” Stead said Friday.

The “State of the County” breakfast speech by Stead given yearly about this time of the year is conducted by the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

It has been delivered before hundreds of business and government leaders at various sites over the years, most recently at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.

The address is an assessment of where the county is at financially and with projects, usually incorporating the state’s impact on the county.

Stead said the 2021 version of the “State of the County” will “probably” be held as a virtual or recorded event this year.

The Fulton County Public Health Department this week stated the county continues to experience increases in COVID-19 cases. County officials are asking sick people to isolate themselves from everyone for 10 days from the start of symptoms or if you do not have symptoms from your test date.

Chamber President/CEO Mark Kilmer said Friday he will be communicating soon with Stead on the status of the address.

But Stead said if “things change” for the better with the pandemic, a decision may still be made to hold it inperson in the future, most likely in late February “at the earliest.”

The last “State of the County” address was held Feb. 28, 2020 at the Holiday Inn and was Stead’s 28th. He said former Fulton County Budget Director Patricia Guy delivered the first address and he has delivered all the other ones since.

Last year’s speech centered on the ongoing Medicaid mandate impacting counties. Stead in his speeches usually incorporates the latest state legislative developments with Fulton County’s taxing and debt situation, as well as upcoming projects impacting government operations and tourism.

“”In Fulton County, we’ve got a lot of good things going on,” Stead said last year, just prior to the coronavirus breakout nationwide.

This year’s address — if it is held — would most likely incorporate the state’s intention to cut 20 percent aid from counties during the pandemic, as well as how the county is handling the pandemic.

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