City, town aim to study development issues

GLOVERSVILLE – The city and the town of Johnstown have struggled in recent years to come to terms on some of the possible commercial developments along their shared borders.

In some cases, businesses have sought municipal water and sewer services and the city has suggested annexing town land to provide those services. In other cases, the town and city have disagreed on how each side should be compensated regarding the sharing of taxes.

Now, representatives of both municipalities are hoping to work more closely together on development issues along the borders by having regular meetings about them.

On Wednesday, members of the city Common Council Economic Development Committee and Johnstown Town Board met at City Hall to restart the Development Process Team. Officials say the effort could lead to a smoother economic development process.

Under a Cooperative Development Agreement in December 2010 regarding “covered property” near the new Walmart supercenter in Gloversville, the development team is responsible for reviewing proposed development and determining services the city would provide to the site.

The development team also was set up to work with the owner and any potential developer of the property around Walmart to identify the potential sales tax, property-tax revenues and other municipal revenue to be generated from development of the property and the cost of providing services, according to the agreement.

The development team is made up of eight members – four from each municipality. Two members of the team are alternates. The eight members are Robin Wentworth, Ellen Anadio, Jim Robinson and alternate Jay Zarrelli, all Gloversville council members, and Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean and Johnstown Town Board members Beth Schloicka, Walter Lane and Tamara Healy, who is an alternate.

The group will meet regularly on a rotating basis between City Hall and the Johnstown Town Hall. The next team meeting will be held June 26 at the Johnstown Town Hall at 6 p.m.

Wentworth said the meeting Wednesday re-established meetings between the town and city regarding the Cooperative Development Agreement.

“I thought this would be a good time to get back together and come to the table and figure out where we can go from here and start setting up our meetings,” Wentworth said.

“I like the idea that we start to meet regularly. Even if there is nothing specific to talk about, we can keep the communication open,” Johnstown Town Councilman Walter Lane said.

Lane said he hopes the development team will be able to help nurture development along Hales Mill Road Extension once the new Walmart is operational and businesses show interest in the land near the store.

Officials said Wednesday the development team won’t limit its discussions to the Walmart site. At the meetings, the group also will talk about other possible development that would involve the two municipalities.

Any future development unrelated to the Walmart site would require a separate agreement, and the terms would have to be negotiated by the town and city.

During Wednesday’s meeting, officials said there is no clear map to show what exactly is defined as “covered property” near the Walmart site in the Cooperative Development Agreement. They will look for more information about that issue.

The officials who met Wednesday were pleased with the first step to continuing the communication process between the two municipalities.

“There is a lot to be gained by having a relationship,” Wentworth said.

“I think we should have been doing this for a long time, but it just took us to sit down and decide that we want to meet on a regular basis, and I think it is going to be successful,” Lane said.

“Maybe the city of Johnstown will get on board and we can all team up, but for right now, we started something,” said Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean. “We have opened the flood gates and we are communicating.”