Last spring, the mayors of Gloversville and Johnstown met briefly with representatives of the town of Johnstown board and presented a plan to share 20 percent of the property-tax revenue for a period of seven years on any land annexed into either city.
Since then, there had been no further meetings among the officials of the three governments until the town presented its proposal on Feb. 11 to purchase excess water and sewer capacity from the cities.
During the eight-month interim there was a great deal of media coverage, but no apparent effort on the part of any of the three parties to come together to discuss face-to-face what options might be placed on the table regarding cooperative development in the town or the two cities. Negotiating via media snippets and radio sound bites is rarely an effective way of bringing parties to a common understanding.
The Town Board is primarily interested in providing opportunities for town property owners to develop their land as they wish. Much of town land is not contiguous to either city and, thus, is not in a position to be annexed into either city. The Town Board would like to reach agreement with the cities to make city water and sewer available to town properties for development where those services are, or may become, available.
A Feb. 23 article stated, “Both cities have to agree to sewer hookups at town sites, leaving annexation as the only other option for town property owners.” Yet there are other options for town property owners to handle wastewater. Many already have septic systems in place for that purpose. Small independent commercial waste treatment systems are in use throughout the U.S. and could be used in this area. It does seem a shame that, with our present municipal sewer system operating at about 50 percent capacity, the cities balk at considering additional income.
In both Johnstown and Gloversville, when parties need to reach agreements, they sit down and discuss (negotiate) until a consensus is reached. For example, policemen, firemen and public works employees meet with the city councils. It is a slow process, but it does work.
It is time for us to sit down and begin talking with one another until we reach an agreement on the best way to have cooperative development in the town of Johnstown and in the cities of Johnstown and Gloversville.