Cities must cooperate

Cooperation is key for the Glove Cities. Economic development will go hand-in-hand with the respect and professionalism both mayors are able to show each other for the good of their constituents.

In November, voters in both cities will need to decide which candidates can best represent them.

We know Johnstown will get a new mayor. Current Mayor Sarah Slingerland announced Monday she won’t seek a third four-year term. So far, no one has stepped forward publicly to announce an interest in running for the office.

In Gloversville, Mayor Dayton King says he’s seeking re-election in November. Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael A. Ponticello announced Saturday he is running for the office as well. No one else in Gloversville has come forward yet.

Both cities would benefit if voters have a strong field of candidates to choose from in the two mayoral races. Given the plethora of issues each city has to deal with, there should be no shortage of people who have ideas about how to tackle them.

During the terms of King and Slingerland, they did not always see eye to eye. Notably, a Gloversville Transit System run to the city of Johnstown ended in 2010, and the two cities bickered over the sale of land for the Fage yogurt factory expansion and sewer and water connections for the Walmart Supercenter project in Gloversville.

It’s reasonable to expect mayors to disagree sometimes. They represent different constituents who have different interests, which can complicate otherwise worthwhile endeavors.

But when it comes to economic development issues – such as annexation and extending water and sewer service from the system jointly run by the cities – the heads of both cities need to work together. In the long run, killing projects because only one city gets the sales- or property-tax revenue would be detrimental to both cities.

To their credit, the two cities share some services and work together on some programs. The newly elected leaders in 2014 should focus on expanding the cooperation and working together on business and economic development issues.

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