At a special meeting on Monday, the Montgomery County Legislature approved a revenue sharing agreement with Fulton County that paves the way for a proposed regional business park.
The 80-year agreement, which was also approved two weeks ago by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, calls for a 50/50 split of property tax revenues from the 265-acre site in the Town of Mohawk. Under the agreement, the land will be annexed by the City of Johnstown, and the city will supply water and sewer services to the site.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort said after the meeting he was pleased that legislators approved the agreement.
“There have been [business] leads that have come in over the past year that we haven’t been able to entertain because we didn’t have a site big enough,” he said. “The two counties will work together to try to market the site and find a tenant that’s going to bring in good jobs and hopefully be a transformational project for both counties.”
Ossenfort said the agreement is a good example of cooperation between two municipalities, something he said can be difficult and time-consuming.
“This decision tonight is an example of us moving forward on a major economic development opportunity and doing it with inter-municipal cooperation, which isn’t always easy, but we have that here in Fulton County and Montgomery County,” he said. “We’ve worked very well together, and hopefully as we get through the process of developing this site it will mean good jobs for people in the county and hopefully be a boost for our local economy.”
He said one of the next steps in the process is to apply for “shovel-ready certification” from New York State and from the Empire State Development Corp.
“Once we get that certification, that’s going to help us market the site,” he said.
Ossenfort cited a similar project in Utica that brought in 2,000 jobs paying an average of $80,000 a year but took nearly 15 years to finalize.
“Inter-municipal collaboration can be testy,” he said. “Politics can get involved. When you have an agreement, it’s important to make sure you solidify that and finish it off. By us doing this tonight, we can take another step forward. Developing large sites like this, even if it’s just in one county, can be a process of five, 10, 15 years. These can take time, so I think any time you can hit a benchmark and move forward is a good thing, and that’s why I think there was a time-sensitive nature to this.”